Within the Swarm – Wade Hampton


            The game with Wade Hampton was a story of two games, almost, with everyone getting ready to play Friday only to have the deluge move the game to Saturday.

            Friday night, after brief remarks reminding the team that the pre-game time was very important to them as individuals and as a team, Coach David Lipsey introduced former Jacket db and Wofford player Bill Robinson.

            “How you doing?” asked Robinson, to a lukewarm response. “How you doing,” challenged Robinson to a better response and finally got the response he was looking for on his third attempt.

            “I brought my son with me,” began Robinson. “I want him to see where the Yellow Jacket tradition begins. And, yeah, I showed him his dad’s picture on the wall (of earlier Jacket teams).

            “I thought a long time about what I might say to night and I chose the apostle Paul’s writings on Christian unity that is found in I Corinthians 12:4-27. “Paul says in these passages that we are all different but we have the same thing in common – Christ. We are all different but we have the same common purpose – to serve the Lord.”

            “We are all part of God’s Body, like a team. Every part of God’s Body (the church) is needed for God’s work to be done. Each of you is part of the Yellow Jacket football team and each one of you are needed.

            “I had a teammate in college named Shaun Grey. Shaun had no pectoral muscles. He was only 5’7” but he could dunk the ball standing flat footed under the basket and he was an important part of our football program

            “Paul talked about how the body was not made up of just one part. The foot couldn’t say that because he wasn’t a hand, he couldn’t be a part of the body. And the ear couldn’t say that because he wasn’t the eye, he wasn’t important.

            “For us as football players, every person is important regardless of the position. Each of you is a part of the team here, regardless of whether you came from Jonesville or Lockhart. You are all now the Union County Yellow Jackets. You are one body. One team, as Christians are on the same team – Christ’s.

            “I encourage you to read the Bible for yourselves. No one knows it all. This time you have together is the best time of your lives. Enjoy it. Take advantage of it. Good luck tonight.”

            Coach Lipsey continued by reminding them that if everyone on the team has the same goal that it would be a very special year for the team. “No selfishness,” he said. “It’s not about me. It’s about us. If we play all together, what could we accomplish?”

The Defense. After reviewing several offensive formations and the Jacket counter, Coach Jay Brannon reminded the defense that one counter play had hurt the JVs on Thursday night. “You cannot let the back cross your face,” he continued. “The sweep, counter, and belly are the three plays we have to stop and watch the waggle (pass). Watch the keys to your reads, not the ball.

            “I’m not sure why you’ve not been focused as much this week. You can’t loose your concentration. Our opponents have scored on big plays. No one has driven the field against us. Your job tonight is a shutout. We want three and out. You did a fantastic job last week. Keep that memory. This is our first region game and you need to dominate. What do you want the Clinton coaches to see on our game film? College coaches?”

            Coach Jon Cudd told the defense that coaches shouldn’t have to pump them up. “We have only scored 22 points so far so we have to go hard every single down. We have to keep them off the scoreboard.”

The offense: Coach Bryan Robinson began the session Saturday with a challenge to the offense: “We have only scored 22 points. They think they can stop the run. You need to give Clinton something to worry about. Dominate. Dominate. Dominate.”

            Coach Dave Maness began by discussing a couple of plays. “I agree with Coach Robinson. We have not showed what we are yet. Go 100% every play. Get on them early. Take them out of the game. The longer you let them stay around the longer they will think they can win.”

            “Seniors, you will replay this game over and over but tonight is the only chance you have to dictate the outcome,” began Coach Rocky Cooper. “Will you be the one who people will remember 15 years from now?”

In the gym (Saturday): “We need to send a message to the III A schools,” began Lipsey. “When coaches look at the upcoming season, they always have to reckon with Union . But it is up to you to make it happen. Smother them on defense. Act like you really do want to run the ball. No name calling. We are above that. Focus on football, not on nonsense. Set the tone.”

Before kickoff: “Be physical,” said Lipsey. “Stay low. Play your assignments. Inflict war on them. Be physical. Don’t get caught up in trash talk. The war will be won on the line of scrimmage. Keep your head in the game. Show these fans something.”

At the half. “Offense, you have got to go,” began Lipsey. “Defense, you have got to know where 40 is. Offense, get back in your rhythm. Look, they have not done a single thing that we haven’t told you about.”

It’s over. “We have our first region win,” began Lipsey. We are in a battle. Every game is going to be like this one. Get ready for a battle next week. Clinton is the Region Champ and we have to go through them.”

Quick hitters. For those wondering about the effects of consolidation on the Jackets, don’t. Forgeddaboutit…defensive line coach Todd Davis is a nationally Certified Fire Fighter who recently said that “…there’s nothing like going into a burning house with 1,200 degree temperatures”…at the half, Marcus Whitener muttered his frustration to those around him, “Seven to three. Get real.”        … Buzz, the Jacket mascot, needed the help of local law enforcement Saturday night. It seems he forgot his “wings” and Captain Freddy Gault was called upon to deliver them to Buzz…after the game, Buzz intercepted the officials and shook hands with each of them… some young defensive players are making the coaches sit up and take notice: 9th grade defensive end Desmond Floyd is “smart, coachable, and has the potential to be a great one” and should see some snaps with the varsity soon and 10th grade JV linebacker Neal Washington “…has great range, is smart, and is getting more physical.” He too should see some time on the Special Teams….Friday night as the team was loading the busses to return to the high school, one of the female trainers slipped and fell on the ground. Two Wade Hampton players were the first to assist her to her feet…and the trainers made a point of personally thanking them during Wade Hampton’s warm ups Saturday… also catching the coaches’ eyes were Sam Hammond who “had a great game” on the O-line while Josh Lowery “…played his best game” of the year, also on the offensive line..

The journey continues. Clinton . 7:30. Big game.



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