Inside the Swarm – Chapman
By: Paul Davis
Pre-game devotion: "You all looked classy today," began coach Lipsey, referring to the players which had all dressed in shirt and tie in honor of Homecoming. "I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback. I think we are okay to play tonight. It will be a little wet but it won’t bother us. Big game. Another step to the playoffs. Good game atmosphere. It’s all between your ears now."
At the point coach Lipsey introduced coach Maurice Bevis who would introduce his son, Shep, as the guest speaker.
"I’m the pastor at New Life," began Bevis, "and I played center on our first State Championship team in 1990. I was the starting center at 185 pounds and played with Kelvin Hardy, Charles Henderson, Joe Wood.
"Every Friday I think about high school football. Don’t take this game for granted. I have a lot going on this game. First, I married coach Keven Farmer and his wife. Second, Kevin Lancaster, who was my college roommate, is the offensive line coach. And third, my wife is from Chapman.
"Paul wrote in First Corinthians 5:17, ‘Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation; old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.’ What Paul is saying that any man can be in Christ Jesus. I believe that with all my heart. A year ago, I was in alcohol and drug rehab. I self-medicated myself. Lost my job. I went to Greenwood to get better. I want you to know that Jesus loves you and it doesn’t matter what you did.
"Secondly, Christ everyone. ANY man. But the gate is narrow. Being ‘in Christ’ isn’t about being in church. It’s not about anything but being ‘in Christ.’ Being born again. Having faith in Jesus Christ. The Bible makes it clear that anyone who calls upon Jesus Christ will be saved.
"Everyone knew us the year we won the State Championships. Kids would stop me in the store and ask my for my autograph. But today no one knows what I did. What I want is for them to know about Jesus Christ. Tonight is just a game.
"Last, when a person accepts Christ as Savior, they are a new creation. Jesus changes a person’s focus and drive. It comes from within. I played hard when I was here. What am I doing differently? I’m lifing my life for Jesus Christ. I want to live a life where everyone knows that I know Jesus. I pray that I will always honor Jesus. Remember, you need to represent your self, your family, your team and your coaches well." And with that Bevis closed with prayer.
The offense. On the board, offensive coordinator coach Dave Maness wrote "4-4, 2-1 ?"
He started off by drawing an offensive set adding "I think they will show us a 5-0. Need to know who blocks the linebacker and safety. It depends upon how wide he is. It may open some play action passes. Secure the ball. Take care of the ball. Only give up the ball on a kick or a punt. I don’t expect anything new.
"You have improved during the week. Some people were out. Chapman had their people at practice. Their 9th grade, JV and Varsity haven’t won a game. Tonight could change their entire program with a win. There are two things that are important about Homecoming tonight – the Homecoming Queen and a win. You will have to live with the score tonight for ever. The weather could affect the momentum. Get them down early so that they think, ‘Here we go again.’ Stay after them. Be aware of the snap count. Don’t hurt us with snap count."
Coach Bryan Robinson reminded the team that two of their wins at home had come in the rain. "It’s all about execution. Stay on the block. Step up and build on the momentum from Riverside. We are fighting for a place in the play-offs. It they loose, no play-offs for them. You are peaking at the right time. Make a run now. Sherman Hawkins did what he was asked to do last night (in the JV game) and had a great run for a touchdown. Robbie Lee Humphries played about every position because he wanted to win. Chapman will not rollover."
In the gym. "Seniors, this is your night," began coach Lipsey. "Play hard. Go get it. Got get it. Don’t come back here with regrets. A football play typically last six second. Six seconds! Go 100 percent for six seconds. No one is in better condition than you. Be alert. Stop the run. Make them throw."
Before kick-off. With the rain coming down, coach Lipsey challenged the Jackets to go wide open. "Eleven to the ball," he continued. "They’ll play hard. We need 100 percent effort. We will win or loose the game on the line of scrimmage. We have three games left. Nothing guaranteed after that. You did it right last week. Seniors stand up. This is the last homecoming they will ever have. Tell them you’ll give them your best effort. They have a right to expect that out of you."
At the half. The half was spent trying to keep out of the rain, huddled in Union’s antiquated locker room, under the leading stands, and behind the equipment trailer.
After the game. There was no rousing speech. It was run to the bus.
Quick hitters. Wet, heavy ball not withstanding, punter Nick Monroe got off a good 40-yard punt in the first quarter….Drell Smith had two fumble recoveries on defense… Kyle Trantham had a great hit on the kick-off…Deon Thompson made a clutch catch as he was falling on Chapman’s 22-yard line…Kelvin Hardy recovered another of Chapman’s fumbles on the 20-yard line… the ceremonies honoring the seniors dodged most of the rain but no so the half-time Homecoming … Alex Tucker put the wet, heavy ball in the end zone on two of his kicks…Tevin Thompson had a big tackle for loss in the first half…on a fake punt, Sylvester Moore stood up the fullback, denying him the first down… Tevin Thompson combined with Drell Smith recover a Chapman fumble…Robbie Lee Humphries got a lot of snaps Friday ….Jordan Sims tackled the punter for a six-yard loss with 58 seconds left in the first half… the wind changed to the north during the half, sending the temperatures lower… coaches were pleased with how well the offense protected the ball and, of course, the defense’s shutout… Neil Washington had a tackle for loss forcing a second and twelve…there was an unusual amount of energy and physical closeness along the sidelines as the Jackets did everything they could to stay warm… Robbie Lee covered a fumble on the 33-yard line with 6:33 left in the game… the game finally ended at 9:32 PM much to the delight of the players and the few loyal fans in the stands.
The journey continues. Clinton. Big game. Be there.
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