the Swarm –
By Paul Davis
Coach Lipsey reminded the team that last week they had no turnovers. “We gave them nothing,” he continued, “and we need to do the same tonight. Remember, little things matter. Make sure you’re ready. Keep out of the parking lot, your car and do not mix with the other students. Make sure you are ready.
At that point, I was introduced by team chaplain Robert Emory to bring the devotional.
“Gideon’s battle with the Midianites as told in Judges is the theme tonight.
“In Judges 6:1-6,
“In the 11th and 12th verses, God’s angel picks
Gideon – who was threshing wheat at the time – to lead
“In verse 14 God tells Gideon to go forth in the strength HE has. You have to play your best, not someone else’s. Gideon questions his ability and asks for a sign. God at first says wait and then gives him a sign. The angel tells Gideon to tear down all the idols belonging to Baal. This was very dangerous as the king put them there and the king was his dad. And in those days, kings killed family members as easily as strangers. What idols do we have between us and God? Is there anything you are placing between yourself and the team?
“God takes care of Gideon and then in the 7th chapter Gideon gathers 32,000 troops to fight the 135,000 Midianites, 4 to 1 odds. What are the odds of our winning? “God wanted to show them His power, so he tells Gideon to send home those who tremble with fright and 22,000 head home to mommy. God only wanted sold out, committed warriors.
“God tells Gideon in verses 5-7 that he still has too many and has them go to the brook to drink. Those who lap the water are sent home. So, 9,700 go home. What was he getting at? Those lapping the water only thought of themselves. When they looked in the water, all they saw was their own image. Now it would be 300 against 135,000. An impossible task UNLESS God was with them. Tonight, it will be Special Teams, the Offense, the Defense, the Sidelines - TEAMS.
“Here, in verses 15-17 are the key verses. Gideon calls the Israelite
soldiers together, tells them to bring a torch, trumpet, and an earthen vessel.
No weapons. Then, he tells them, ‘Watch me. Follow my lead.’ Can you seniors
tell the team, ‘Watch me. Follow my lead?” Can you lead by example? Gideon
and his band of 300 warriors perfectly execute the game plan and route the
135,000. The Midianites lost 135,000 due to their fighting among themselves.
Guys, Union CAN beat
“Okay, seniors, come to the front of the room. Now, you ARE the leadership. Can you say to your teammates, ‘Watch us. Follow our lead?’” At that point, the seniors repeated that phrase three times.
I then asked the team to stand. “Can you say to these seniors, ‘We will follow?’”
With the music of the Space Odyssey, 2001 playing, the seniors shouted three times, ‘Watch us. Follow our lead.’ This was followed by the team responding, ‘We will follow.’”
At that point they took their seats. “Guys, I don’t know if you meant
it. But, I will say this. After the game, your coaches will know it. The guy on
your right and left will know it. The fans will know it. And
In the gym. “When
we get there,” began coach Lipsey, “we will have our offense and defense
meetings. I like it when you get off the bus ready to play. Play with class.
This game will be a game you will always remember. The chance to play for the
Upper State Championships. Create turnovers. Tony Curtis of
The defense: Because
of traffic delays, the team arrived latter than planned so coach Jay Brannon
talked to the defense before they got off the bus. “We have to have 48 minutes
of play,” said Brannon. “The game will be won in the fourth quarter. Play
like every play is the most important play in the game because it just might be.
Know your angles if they sprint out. Make the play on the screen. You are ready.
Not many teams get this chance. Win and it gets better every week. Play hard.
Before kickoff. Packed
into a hot locker room, the Jackets listened as Lipsey challenged them to
compete on every play. “Go get it. Don’t wait. Tackle. Wrap up. Protect the
football. You are on a journey to the State Championship. Two hours from now,
someone will be playing for the Upper State Championship. Let’s have no
regrets. Seniors, this is not the end. Go get it.”
The half. “Offense,
you have got to finish your drives,” began Lipsey. “We need six. Be awake on
special teams and keep tackling. Wear them out. They will probably run some
weeps and sprints. Twenty-four more minutes. Two quarters. Be a great second
half team. Win it.”
It’s over. “We’re
going to the Upper State Championships,” began Lipsey. “That’s a great
credit to you and your hard work. One step away. We need a good week. Prepare to
play. No mess ups this weekend or in school. It’s us and
Quick hitters. Coach
Lipsey received his first sideline dunking with 13 seconds left in the
game…during the second half, linebacker T. T. Burros smelled a screen coming
and busted the play with a key tackle…Calvin Rice, who is becoming a real
“sack artist,” had two big sacks in the second half for about 14 yards in
total losses...Sam Hammond had a big sack which forced Greenville into fourth
down deep in their territory… Kierre Smith had another one of his
“patented” falling down backwards receptions under double coverage…Kelvin
Booker also had a big sack leaving
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