Inside the Swarm - Riverside


By: Paul Davis

Pre-game devotional. Team chaplain Robert Emory started the devotion by writing “0-3 or 30” on the board in the meeting room. “What is the difference,” he asked, “between 0-3 and 3-0? We were oh and three at one time and now, in the region, we are three and oh. What’s the difference?”

Team members responded: “Attitude. Our priorities are in order. We have improved. Effort.”

Emory then turned to John 20 where Jesus talked to his disciples about doubting.  This was the passage where the disciple Thomas said he would not believe that his fellow disciples had seen Jesus unless he was able to see the nail marks himself.

“You have had doubts yourself this season,” continued Emory. “Doubts about yourself. Your teammates. Your coaches. What I want you to do now is pick one of your teammates in the room and go over to him and tell him that you have no doubts about him. And mean it.” At that point the players mingled in the room going up to each other as Emory had asked, expressing confidence in each other.

When they returned, Emory asked them if they had confidence in their coaches. The players did acknowledge that they did.

“Now what you just did is important,” continued Emory. “Here is the key: You have got to know how to be a difference maker on the field. You need to play with the attitude that every play YOU make will make a difference in the game. The problem is, as your coaches have told you, no one knows what play that will be.

“As important as being a difference maker is on the field, there’s something even more important. You need to be a difference maker in life. Is there someone who can say that you have made a positive difference in their life? Just think how incredible it is for someone to say that about you as an individual.

“Right now you know the community is back on its heels over the problems we are having with alleged criminal conduct by some of our leaders. You need to understand that, because of this messy issue and the negative publicity we have gotten, your play as a team representing this entire county may take on an unusually significant level of importance to the people. They are looking for and need some good news. And that may be your play tonight.

“Now the ultimate difference maker was Jesus Christ. He has made a life-changing difference in millions and millions of people over the last 2,000 years. When you ask Jesus into your life, He WILL make a lifetime difference in your life and then you have the chance to be a difference maker in someone else’s life through sharing your faith with them.”

Offense. Coach Dave Manes started by acknowledging that homecoming was very special to seniors. “I remember very little of mine. One thing I remember is that we beat  Landrum  38-0. That’s all I remember and that’s all you will remember. Nothing else.

“Have had a decent week of practice and we need to pick it up tonight. Get ready to play. Stay focused on what we have to do. At 10 tonight, one team will be 2-0 and everyone else will have at least one loss. Just a step tonight. Seniors one more time to play at our stadium. If we take care of business, we are a better team if we play with effort and intelligence. Ball security is important. They beat us a couple years ago and they beat us with a fumble in the end zone. There are coming here to win.

“We are 12-2 at home since combining Union County. We have to play hard. Don’t wait around. The longer we let them hang around, it will be hard to take it away from them. We have worked hard. We know their coverage. Play with intensity. Seniors, this is your night. The memories will be the game.”

Coach Robinson said they played cover zero which means they don’t believe we can pass against them. ‘When you get a chance to make a play in space do it. They’ll be sending more linebackers. They played four man front against the JVs all night. Bottom line is execution. Riverside told their players to get revenge for the losses last night. Score touchdowns. You haven’t executed. Our average of eight points a game is not good. Now is the time to explode. We scored 42 points a few years ago against them. It’s time for us to score a bunch of points. Finish the drive.”

Defense. Coach Chip Bailey began with a chalk talk about what their reaction would be to any of the expected Riverside formations.

“When that quarterback puts his hands up, Wesley and Deon move from the top of three to the triangle and you have to collision…. last night in the JV game, when they went trips  they were hitting the slant on the back side… they may try it on one receiver side… Jordan, if it’s a straight drop, find number one receiver and sit right here in the throwing lane and he will throw you the ball... on the weak side if he sprints he is going to run the check…if they sprint, Jordan you are going to go… the first time they give us trips with the back to the weak side, what are we gonna do? Play what? Everyone has to knowing what’s going on… we have not shown this on our films… there is a good change they will throw it right to us.

“Both their 9th grade and JV ran a lot of trips. If the back is to the strong side, we play Jacket… I think they will try to attack us on the single receiver side… in the JV game, they kept trying to run the tunnel.

“Now, I expect Riverside to come out try to run the option or the counter of the two back gun… then they’ll go to some type of trickery… they quick counted against the JV and he defense never got down so they scored… they like to run the trap and scored off it last night… they like to run a wide trap.

“We widen you out so don’t run into them… you want to beat him by avoiding him and then dip, and lean  and go… they ran counter, zone and option off this set… we will play three on this… take a break and get ready to play.”

“D on three. One. Two Three. D.”

Quick hitters. Probably due to the Jacket’s overcoming adversity late in the Broome game, there wasn’t any panic down 14-0… coaches were very pleased with the play of Jordan Sims (who got the game-saving interception and a blocked punt), William Jeter’s play along with Kyle Trantham’s strong performance when he came in for Ricky Rice… as has been the case in the last three games, the punt team has gotten great kicks from Nick Monroe and has smothered kick returns…the kick-off team also has performed very well the last three weeks…  Desmond Floyd got a tackle for loss and a sack on the same series which helped the team to get back on track… Brian Wells and Dillon West both had strong performances, particularly when West was playing a new position at center… the running backs received praise for their hard running and taking care of the ball after Union’s early turnover…Kendrick Byrd blocked well and had 12 good carries as running back… Dierrius Beecham, Mike Mebane, John Simmons Fallaw, and Beecham all attracted coach praise… the offense had three scoring drives of 75, 87, and 65 taking a lot of time off the clock…in the third quarter, the defense was only on the field for less than six minutes… linebacker Neil Washington leads the team with 59 tackles and 6.5 tackles for loss…Jordan Sims is second with 37 tackles… defensive end Desmond Floyd leads the team with 8.5 sacks and 15 tackles for loss…Ricky Rice leads the team with two interceptions… Nick Jackson is second with sacks with 7.5.

After game: Neil Washington volunteered to lead the team in prayer before leaving the field at the end of the game. Nothing more needed saying.

The journey continues. Chapman. 7:30. Be there.


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