Inside the Swarm - Spartanburg

 

By: Paul Davis

Coach Lipsey began the pre-game devotion time by recognizing the great school spirit shown at the pep rally. “I want more pep rallies,” he continued, “I enjoy them.

            “When you come back from the game, get stuff turned in. Don’t leave it lying around. Yellow shorts and jerseys for those not dressing.

            “We did well on our times last week. I don’t know how many saw the 9th grade and JV games but they did a great job.

            “The devotion tonight will be given by Floyd Lyles.”

            “It’s an honor to be here,” began Lyles who is a former Jacket linebacker and coach. “This is my fifth year since I stopped coaching and I really miss being a part of this.

            “When I was teaching, my last class had some guys in it who wanted to be football stars. Some of them are in this room.

            “When I was your age, I had no idea that I would ever be a teacher or a coach. Plus I have been an assistant principal and now I am a principal of a new school. If Christ hadn’t changed my life, I have no idea where I would be. My commitment to Jesus changed my life.

            “Proverb 3:5 says, ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.’

            “Jesus is very personal to me. I was headed for trouble when I was young just like some of my friends who have been in jail. Everyone has a chance to write the book of their life like they want. You are writing a chapter now. What do you want it to say?

            “Seniors, this is your year. Some of you will play in college, some won’t. This year will be what you make of it. Trust God in everything you do. We can tell who the leaders are. Leadership begins with the administration and the coaches but if you seniors don’t lead, you won’t make it to the State Championships. It’s easy to lead when you are up by 20 but real leadership comes when you are down 20. You have to trust each other.

            “We need leaders on this team. We need leaders in life. People are watching you on and off the field. Have fun but you will never have a chance to do the play over again.

            “Leaders are known by their commitment. Seniors, this is your team. Lead by example.”

            Coach Lipsey remarked to the team about how fast the past two years have gone. “Seniors, this year will go fast. One game is gone. After this game, you will have eight guaranteed. Make the most of every moment, every practice, every block, every tackle, every run. Let’s get focused and have a quiet team meal. Attack, attack, attack. But it starts now, between the ears.”

            After word had been received that the presence of lightning forced cancellation of the game, the team met in the gym.

            “We have a problem with lightning,” began Lipsey. “Thirty minutes after the last lightning strike we can play. If we get off two plays and lightning hits again, we have to wait another 30 minutes. That’s the way it goes. We can’t do anything about it.

            “Keep a good attitude. Get a good night’s sleep. How we handle this mentally will impact our play Saturday. We need to handle it better than Spartanburg. We had to do this same thing with Wade Hampton. Be careful driving. Be here at 3 PM Saturday.”

            Quarterback Nick Monroe challenged his teammates not to be out partying Friday night.

            Defense.

            Coach Chip Bailey spent most of the session reviewing the defense’s counter to Spartanburg formations.

            “I have been asking you questions and you either don’t know or give the wrong answers,” continued Bailey. “I guess some of you think that you can just show up and play magically.”

            “Everyone has a job to do so play your position. Don’t try to do someone else’s job. If they do something different, we’ll take care of that when you come to the bench.

            “We aren’t getting any pressure on the quarterback when he goes empty. Pass rush on the edges. You can’t go up the center. Rip, swim, do whatever you have to do to get to him.

            “We’ve covered everything we’ve seen on film. Their number one play is the Dart. Safeties should have lots of tackles with a good read.”

            Coach Lipsey then spoke to the team, reminding them that Union County plays teams who can put it in the end zone in order to make the team better. “Know your assignments,” he continued. “Know where you are supposed to be.  You can’t fall asleep. Many of you are just one play away from getting in the game. You have got to be ready. This is about team defense. If we continue to get better, we will be playing great football by the time of the play-offs. Run. Hit hard. Have fun.”

            Offense.

            Coach Dave Maness reviewed several formations and the Viking’s defenses. “I don’t know what they will do with Utah and Omaha,” he continued. “I need to know what the say and do when we run those formations. Having to play on Saturday could be a distraction or something really important, depending upon how you handle it.

            “We have only lost one game at home in the last two years. We need to get off to a great start at home. We can play with Spartanburg but not if we put it on the ground. We can’t play with any team in our region if we put it on the ground. We want to keep position of the ball.

            “Our effort has been good but our execution poor. We try to get you in the best position we can. Stay together and make something happen.”

            As was the case with the defense, Coach Lipsey addressed the offense.

            “It’s Saturday night. You are in the spotlight. There is a real difference when you play good teams. Enjoy the game. Be ready. You are playing a quality opponent. Play to the whistle. Keep your feet moving. Get focused. All the eyes are on you tonight.”

            Quick hitters.

            In spite of the disappointing performance against the Vikings, coaches did see some positives: wide receiver/corner Shaq Robinson continued to impress coaches with his performance and is “flying under the radar”…the Jackets held the ball for over seven minutes on their first drive – which is the game plan – until the wheels came off…Denzel Johnson, junior linebacker, continues to improve and impress Jacket coaches… the coaching staff also gave high marks to the entire offensive line who played well in spite of the score: Jarred O’Shields, Travis Black, Brian Wells, Dillon West, and Jason Adams...Wes Jeter also had a good game at linebacker…thanks to Coach Maness and Chaplain Robert Emory for their help in compiling this column.

The journey continues. September 4th at the Reservation.

 

 

 

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