Valentine: Put your heart
where your head is supposed to be
By PAUL DAVIS
The pre-game - Coach Tommy Bobo reminded the team that with an away game they would be on a reduced time schedule. “If you have had your ankles taped during the week, go to the training room,” said Bobo. “Wrists and elbows will be taped there.
“This is a big game. We are not where we want to be at this point, but we can still meet our goals for this season. We have several starters out who may or may not play. Number two players should be ready to play. Each player has to be responsible for what they do. Eleven players doing that will make a big difference.
“They will be coming in with a lot of emotion. There stadium will be dedicated to coach (John) Carlisle, plus they gave Greer all they could handle.
“Brad Valentine will be bringing the devotion tonight. He sat where you sat and was part of the state championship team. He is still part of the family.”
Valentine began by reminiscing about his playing days and his role as a backup player. “I had to be ready,” continued Valentine. “I was privileged to be a part of the family.
“I will be talking about David. You all know what David did to Goliath. You need to know that other teams consider Union a Goliath. If I had a football team, I’d rather have David on my team than Goliath. David wasn’t perfect. He was dedicated. He repented of his sins and God knew it. He was chosen to be a king, but he didn’t seek it. He was a sheepherder; he was a singer and a writer who wrote about his God.
“Here at Union High, I’ve seen kids look up to championship football players like David looked at God. While David was watching sheep, he would fight attacking wolves and bears. Goliath was nine feet tall and was trash talking the Israelite army. David wasn’t afraid. He knew God was on his side. ‘I’ll take you on,’ he said.
All he had was a slingshot and some smooth stones. Once he killed Goliath, people started to notice him and believe in him.
“In 1989, when we lost to North Augusta in the upstate championship, that got people noticing Union football. They bleed black and gold.
“The people of Israel doubted David at first. People in Union doubt you today. You have to have the heart of a David. If you do, there is no reason why you can’t be in Columbia in December. How many of you are proud to wear the black and gold jersey? That pride began in 1989 and bore fruit in 1990, 1995, 1999, 2000, and 2002. Put your heart where your head is supposed to be.”
Before the kickoff - Coach B.J. Moore talked to the team before the kickoff. “Football doesn’t mean much here at Eastside,” began Moore. “I remember (former wide receiver and USC player) Monty Means saying over and over as he got off the bus, ‘I can catch anything I touch,’ and he did. Part of Union football is the opposing team’s crowd coming to see Union. This is a team game. Count on one another. There is not a single player on Eastside who can handle Devon (Thompson), Tishawn (Dawkins) or Sam (Hammond). There’s not a person on the field who can stay with L. J. (Mobley). If we play as individuals, we won’t win.
Play as a team and give them a clinic on how football is played.”
At the half - “I am concerned,” began coach Bobo. “The first half wasn’t bad, but started slowly. The ball game isn’t over. Some of you may think it is. They scored with just six seconds left. We get the football and we must match that score. No one can play one on one with you. They’ll come out thinking they can win.
You have to go for the kill. Make a statement. And have fun.”
Quick hitters - Several starters were out for the Eastside game, among them Freddie Bates, J. J. Hughes, Rodrick Gilmore and Gerone McBeth ... one of the officials paced off the three-yard white line marked for extra points before the game and found the distance too far by about a foot ... Cameron Willis had Philippians 4:13 written on his taped wrist ... the offensive coaches were very pleased with Michael Pack’s and Tim Duckett’s performance in the game. They were playing tackle and tight end respectively, for the first time this year. They both made key blocks on a Kierre Smith TD ... on the defensive side of the line, Paul Teague and Trey Crumlin got high marks for their performance. Crumlin switched from offensive line to defense and Teague started at linebacker ... The officials blew several calls, one where the play clock showed 0:0 and they allowed Eastside to call a time out and a bang-bang play, where a receiver dropped a pass with a simultaneous hit by Billy Jennings (15 yards) ... There was a constant chain gang dance along the sidelines with the chain crew marking the spot using the sideline, then, for some reason, moving the chains to the white line marking the edge of the players’ box and then trying to move the chains through the players and coaches on a down change ... frustrated with excessive penalties, coaches are affording guilty players the chance to develop a personal relationship with The Hill ... there was no meeting with the offense or defense due to time constraints ... at the end of the game, coach Bobo complimented the team for playing hard, but criticized them for making too many mistakes.
The journey continues. Riverside. Here. Homecoming.
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