Inside the Swarm - Clinton - Playoff Round 3
By: Paul Davis
Pre-game devotional. On the board: “Suffering = perseverance = character… all three = ultimate goal.”
“I have tried to tell you all year how important this time is,” began Coach David Lipsey. “Get ready to play. Do what you gotta do to get what you want to get. What you do in November matters, not what you did in September.”
At that point, Coach Jay Voiselle, who played on the 1995 State Championship team began the devotion by acknowledging that the sophomores and freshman on the team knew him. “Today I am going to talk to you about how you got to where you are and about you. I am married and have two children. You and I are alike. I teach PE and coach four sports. I know what suffering and perseverance is all about and I want to talk to you about that.”
At that point he held up his diploma from South Carolina and told the team that it took him eight years to earn it. “I worked at two jobs while I went to school,” he continued. “My favorite scripture is Romans 5:1-4 which is all about what I wrote on the board. Suffering, perseverance, and character will all contribute your ultimate goal.
“Perseverance can be defined as dogged determination. My little son keeps pulling at the curtains even though I try to make him stop. Suffering means to submit to or be forced to endure. How have you suffered this year? Remember, you made it through it, missed some tackles and blocks. In 1995, we lost four games and we were booed. You have pulled together. You have had people quit. You have been put down by your friends. You have seen some bad stuff. Last week against J. L. Mann in knew you understood. You didn’t quit. During the eight years I was going to school I asked God if this was what He wanted me to do because it was really difficult but I didn’t quit.
“I have seen character on this team. Character means the complex mental and ethical traits marking a person or group. Players have stepped up to lead. You’ve got the number one defense in AAA. You are where you need to be. You have earned it. Who values it more, you or Clinton?
“When I interviewed for my first job at Carver Junior High I was one of 15 applicants. The principal asked me why he should hire me and I told him no one has been through what I had been through. He hired me. Clinton has watched you stumble and fall and wonders who will show up tonight.
Voiselle then read a short poem about the ‘look in their eyes.’
“Tonight, what will Clinton see in your eyes? They haven’t seen what you have seen. Show them where you have been.”
Defense: Defensive Coordinator Chip Bailey began by telling the defense that Clinton will do what Clinton always does and we will do what we do. “It all comes down to who is going to be the most physical. They will try to draw you offside. Be disciplined. Line up right. Cover your man. Don’t freelance. The underneath cover group can be aggressive because you have help over the top. Knock the ball loose. We only had one turnover from them last time.”
Offense. On the board: “Everyday someone does something great. Today make that someone you!!” Coach Dave Maness reminded the offense that of 48 3A teams only 8 were left. “You have a great chance. Take care of the ball and be physical. Win the first play. Let them know they have a fight on their hands. We have improved. One or two plays will be the difference tonight. You will have to fight for 48 minutes tonight.”
Before the kick-off. Coach Lipsey reminded the team that it would take four quarters of all out effort. And at that point, the players took over the emotional preparation for the game and the coaches faded out of the picture.
At the half. Leading 14-0 the players poured into the baseball field area, many shouting, “Zero, zero” referring to the need to play the second half as if the game were scoreless. “One half of football left,” said Lipsey. “We will make some adjustments and so will they. We will have to play better this half. Stay focused on the next play. Zero, zero.”
Quick hitters. Over the last several games, increasing numbers of players, individually or in groups have taken a knee and bowed in prayer before the kick-off among them Neil Washington, Brennan Crosby, John Simmons Fallaw, Nick Monroe, Trey Smith, Austin Miller, Desmond Floyd, Kyle Trantham, Travis Black, Brian Wells, Dillon West and Jarred O’Shields… co-captains were Nick Monroe, Neil Washington, and Michael Mebane …the Union County High School administration and law enforcement have taken a big step toward protecting pedestrian traffic crossing between the old Wal-Mart parking lot and the stadium by providing a much-needed portable lighting system… Nick Monroe had a great night punting with several going over 40 yards with no runback… kick-off teams also had a great night keeping Clinton deep in their own territory… prior to leaving for the stadium the team watched a play-off highlight film prepared by Coach Mitchell Moss… Kendrick Byrd had a key block on Michael Mebane’s TD run… the officials missed a Clinton’s punt receiver’s touch of a mishandled kick but not the sideline TV cameraman… the coaches spoke proudly about the effort the team had shown throughout the play-offs getting them to a level few people even thought was possible… with both the 9th grade and JV teams going undefeated in region play this year the Jackets have a lot of positives to look forward to in 2010.
The Journey Begins. January in the weight room.
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