Inside the Swarm – Eastside



“Seniors,” began Coach Lipsey. “Don’t let it slip by. No, I wish…I could have...”

In the absence of team chaplain Robert Emory, Coach Mike Massey introduced the Union area Fellowship of Christian Athletes representative, Pierre Solomon, who is from Dillon.

“You’re two and three tonight,” began Solomon. “I’m going to read to you from Philippians 3: 13: “Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

What one word do you want to hear”” asked Solomon. “ChampionSHIP. Ship. How are you going to get there? It’s going to take dedication. Commitment. You all know there is no “i” in team.

“Look to the guy on your right and your left and tell him, ‘I have your back.’

“Paul is saying here that he had not attained his prize, his goal yet. He was not living in the past. You need to forget those things behind you. We have all dropped the ball at some time. But that was then. Tonight, it’s Game One. Forget what has gone on before. Don’t get stuck on failures. The “Ship” lies ahead of you. You need to learn to use failures as stepping stones to success.

“If our body was cut up in parts clearly it wouldn’t function. As Paul says in I Corinthians it takes all the parts of the body working together for the body as a whole to function.

“When I was playing football I was a wide receiver and I remember when I caught my first pass and then tripped over my own feet on the ten-yard line. I was devastated. I was mentally out of the game. I had to learn to forget that and focus on the game.

“Paul talked about forgetting what had happened in the past and was focusing on what was ahead. We are to keep look forward and giving 110%. What would happen on your team if everyone gave 100%? What would happen if everyone played with the same commitment as you do?  You have to play hard and be focused on one cause – the “Ship.”

“In verse 15, Paul says, ‘All of us who are mature should take such a view of things…” We need to think the same thing. Walk as one. Don’t get caught up in past failures. Spiritually, I can do all things through Christ. Remember it wasn’t your mom and dad who gave you your ability. It was God.”

After reading the FCA Creed, Solomon closed by challenging the Jackets to go 100% to the end.

Coach Lipsey reminded the Jackets to visualize themselves making successful plays. “Things didn’t go like we expected last week,” he continued, “but we have to move on. There will be a lot of people in the stands tonight. Give them a show, something to remember.”

The Defense. It was dark in the weight room and the players were dozing and resting when the coaches flicked on the lights.

“Remember,” began Coach Jay Brannon, “we will be in a nickel on long yardage. This should be a fun game. This is why you play. I’ve been looking forward to this game. This will be a passing game. So far this year, we have played running teams. If we play the run well, they will have to pass. JL Mann, Greer, Riverside , they all pass.

“You did a great job in that street fight last week but we have to execute. They are going to run traps. The key is to drive them back. Get good arm extension. We have had a good week in practice but we are not sure how good they are. Their JV and 9th grade weren’t very good.

“I just want to leave you with three words: Leave. No. Doubt. Whoever is the most physical will make a run to Columbia . Who has the best defense in the state? This is a statement game. No one has crossed our goal line yet. Back ups, get ready to play but I still want you to keep them out of the end zone. Remember, defensive points allowed is the first step in tie breaking in the region.”

Coach Jon Cudd reminded the defense that the coverage calls would come from him. “Guys, you only get one chance a week to play football. Don’t waste this chance. No let down. Seniors, you are half way through your regular season.”

In the Gym. Coach Lipsey reminded the team that they hadn’t seen a team that would stretch the field like Eastside.  “You will see a different kind of attack,” he continued. “If he gets time, he’ll hit his receivers but he won’t if he has someone breathing down his neck. Wide receivers, stay on your blocks.”

After. “Congratulations on the game,” began Lipsey. “This is a critical part of the season. This is the stretch run. Riverside has given us a hard time in the past. But that was last year, not this year. They are a quality opponent and we will be at their house. We have to prepare well. Enjoy the victory. Be safe. Be smart. Watch what you do. Come ready to work Monday.”

Quick Hitters. Kevin Hardy made one of the most spectacular kick blocks seen in a long time when he arrived at the kicking tee just as the ball did…Neal Washington had a great tackle on a kickoff…it was Hardy’s night again as he pounced on a fumble on the thirty-three yard line… JV quarterback Michael Mebane, who also plays on special teams, tackled the Eastside runner on the seven-yard line on a kickoff…backup players started getting snaps with about seven minutes left in the third quarter with everyone on offense getting some snaps…Neal Washington also made a great kickoff tackle on the 20-yard line…Clay Alexander ripped the ball loose from an Eastside runner causing a fumble which they recovered…Brian Eubanks came off the field at the half, challenging his teammates to “Make a statement.”…JV running back Lamont Edney had a spectacular run late in the game causing one tackler after another to tackle nothing but smoke ‘cause he was gone…Alex Tucker put one kickoff into the end zone…Union didn’t punt the ball until 11:20 in the 4th quarter…DB Brain Gist got Union’s first interception of the year at 3:30 left in the game…Danny Grady is nursing a broken finger…I recently learned that a former Union athlete was very upset playing for a foul mouthed college coach who was using language never heard by this athlete while playing sports at UHS. Union ’s coaches have, for decades, acted on the field or in the office no differently than they would in front of their pastor, wife, mom or daughter…Travelle “T.T.” Burros has caught the coach’s eyes with his play at both Will (weak side) and Sam (strong side) linebacker positions. “He always plays hard, is ready anytime, and can be trusted to be in position and do what’s fundamentally correct as much as anyone on the defense,” says defensive coordinator Jay Brannon.

The Journey Continues. Riverside . 7:30. Game time.


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