Inside the Swarm: J. L. Mann

By: Paul Davis

Pre-game devotional.  Reverend Ralph Brown, pastor at Jonesville Baptist Church was introduced by “Doc” Lipsey as a Union County High School Hall of Fame (three-sport) member and fan of Yellow Jacket football.

Reverend Brown’s scripture reference came from Philippians 3:11-14.

“Paul says that he’s not perfect, that he is constantly working to get better, working to get the prize but he knows that he’s not there yet,” continue Brown. “Paul was an up and coming Jew. Well educated. He was present when Stephen was stoned for his belief in Christ. Paul and his followers were trying to stamp out Christianity but on the road to Damascus he had a miraculous meeting with the risen Jesus which changed his life forever. He re-directed his energy from persecuting Christians to being the most important man in the New Testament apart from Christ. There are four things from this scripture which apply to us.

“First, keep on learning, growing, achieving. No one is where they need to be yet.

“Second, keep the past in the past. Paul refers to ‘forgetting what’s behind.’ We need to live today, not yesterday. What’s gone is gone. Last week you had a great game against Chapin. That game is gone. Lots of adults live in the past. We need to learn from the past but not be a slave to it.

“Third, Paul was telling us to keep worthwhile goals before us. Go to college. Military service. Continue your education. Remember your goal is Columbia in December.

“Last, keep striving to reach your goals, one step at a time. Paul couldn’t do what he wanted to do in one day. I pray you know Christ and you allow Him to live His life through you. Forget about Chapin. It’s gone. While you are moving toward the goal, look around, but don’t take your eyes off your goal.

“When I was in Columbia recently, a speaker talked about James Dobson’s book about being a modern spiritual knight. Knights: lived pure; they spoke the truth; they righted wrongs; and they followed the king. Jesus is our king.

“I pray you will have a great night but, more importantly, that you have a great life.”

Offense. “We have a lot of distractions this week,” began Offensive Coordinator Dave Mannes. “Are you satisfied? At ten tonight, there will be four teams left in the up-state. We are a better football team than Mann IF we play solid football. We will win with 11, one on one. One play at a time. If you beat your man, we win. Are we going to execute better than them? No one gave us a chance to be here. Are you going to cash in on your potential?”

Defense. On the board: “Are you satisfied?”  Coach Chip Bailey began by telling the defense that he was proud of what they had done. “You are better than last year,” he continued. “We have the same record as Mann. They have averaged 45.5 point in the last five games. It will come down to who wants it more. I have experienced what it is to play my last football game and you don’t want that.”

Gym. Coach Lipsey reminded the team that “…great teams win, not great individuals.”

Before. “Close it out. Close it out,” began Lipsey. “What does the Black and Gold have tonight? They came here to win. Who will have fire in their gut? It’s time for the next step.” DB LaBrian Smith led the Jackets in getting “fired up” before the start of the game.

Half. Leading 21-7, the Jackets gathered on the baseball field shouting, “Zero, zero,” a reminder that the game could still go either way. Coach Lipsey bragged on the offensive line.

Quick hitters. The officiating crew probably was the best all year but came perilously close to loosing control of the game after repeated personal fouls called on Mann… co-captains were Nick Monroe, Nick Jackson, Travis Black, and Neil Washington… Jackson recovered a punt blocked by Desmond Floyd which quickly led to a Jacket TD… Floyd was also credited with some great blocking as a receiver which led to another TD… with the Jackets kept off the sidelines because of the collapsed wall incident, Coach Lipsey told the team that they had to focus on the game. “Great people have this situation under control.” Tate Knox told the team that, “You gotta keep your head right and finish the game.”… Dierris Beacham drew praise for his running to include one TD… “Doc” Lipsey explained to the players that no one appeared to have serious injuries… in the last eight games the Jackets have scored an average of 21 points while giving up 9…fullback Kendrick Byrd has come a long way, according coaches… offensive linemen Brian Wells, Dillon West and Jason Adams all had a good game said coaches… Jamarcus Rice has attracted notice due to his developing leadership skills… special teams holder Lee Wilburn “is gonna be a good player in the future…” said one coach… Rickey Rice and Taurean Houston both got their hands on punts… “John Simmons Fallaw plays hard and selflessly,” said one coach…Brennan Crosby had some good blocks at a wide receiver… coaches have seen an increase in Michael Mebane’s speed recently… several coaches were impressed with the play of the younger running backs toward the end of the game… the punt team has played well all year, according to Coach Caleb Clark.

The journey continues. Step Three. At home. Game time.


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