Inside the Swarm – Greenville
By: Paul Davis
Pre-game devotion. “I’m excited,” began Coach Bobo, “because folks don’t give us much of a chance. Can we beat them? Yes. But we need to play better than we did last week. We have seen a lot of their game film and we know they won’t quit until the game is over.”
At that point Bobo told the team that I would be brining the devotional.
Continuing a theme about their 2006 Yellow Jacket Football Book, I told the team that they were starting a new section in their book, the Playoff Chapter. “How many pages will there be?” I asked. “Will it just be tonight’s game or with there be other pages? Remember, YOU write these pages.”
“Gideon’s battle with the Midianites as told in Judges is the theme tonight. I used this same devotion last year but I think it really applies to what has happened this year.
“In Judges 6:1-6, Israel was captive, again, and asks why this has happened. You have been captive to your mistakes this season and you may have asked why.
God’s prophet explains the reason for the captivity and the people cry out for help.
“In the 11th and 12th verses, God’s angel picks Gideon – who was threshing wheat at the time – to lead Israel. A farmer, not a warrior. God often picks the guy with character in the back of the crowd to lead. It isn’t always the marquee player who makes the big play in a game. God saw potential in Gideon that Gideon didn’t see. Your coaches see potential in you that you might not see.
“In verse 14 God tells Gideon to go forth in the strength HE has. You have to play your best, not someone else’s. Gideon questions his ability and asks for a sign.
God at first says wait and then gives him a sign. The angel tells Gideon to tear down all the idols belonging to Baal. This was very dangerous as the king put them there and the king was his dad. And in those days, kings killed family members as easily as strangers. What idols do we have between us and God? Is there anything you are placing between yourself and the team?"
“God takes care of Gideon and then in the 7th chapter Gideon gathers 32,000 troops to fight the 135,000 Midianites, 4 to 1 odds. You are facing an opponent which averages over 30 points a game with a Shrine Bowl Quarterback. We have no Shrine Bowl players. No North-South players. But we DO have pluggers.
What are the odds of our winning? 4 to 1, 20-1?"
“God wanted to show them His power, so he tells Gideon to send home those who tremble with fright and 22,000 head home to mommy. God only wanted sold out, committed fighters. We loose Cameron Willis."
“God tells Gideon in verses 5-7 that he still has too many and has them go to the brook to drink. Those who lap the water are sent home. So, 9,700 go home. We loose Bo Whitney and Keiston Stevens. Those lapping the water only thought of themselves. When they looked in the water, all they saw was their own image.
Now it would be 300 against 135,000. An impossible task UNLESS God was with them. Tonight, it will be Special Teams, the Offense, and the Defense TEAMS against overwhelming odds.
“Gideon then learns that they will win. Here, in verses 15-17 are the key verses. Gideon calls the Israelite soldiers together, tells them to bring a pitcher, trumpet, and a torch. No weapons. Then, he tells them, ‘Watch me. Follow my lead.’ Can you seniors tell the team, ‘Watch me. Follow my lead?” Can you lead by example?
Gideon and his band of 300 perfectly execute the game plan and route the 135,000. The Midianites lost 120,000 due to their fighting among themselves. Guys, Union CAN beat Greenville. But we CAN NOT beat Greenville AND Union. We can’t beat ourselves like the Midianites did.
“Can you lead like Gideon? Can you be like the 300 sold out, committed warriors?
“Okay, seniors, come to the front of the room. Now, you ARE the leadership. Can you say to your teammates, ‘Watch us. Follow our lead?’” At that point, the seniors repeated that phrase three times.
I then asked the team to stand. “Can you say to these seniors, ‘We will follow?’”
At that point, the seniors shouted, ‘Watch us. Follow our lead.’ This was followed by the team shouting, ‘We will follow.’ Three times to the music of 2001.
At that point they took their seats. “Guys, I don’t know if you meant it. But, I will say this. After the game, Greenville will know it. Your coaches will know it. The guy on your right and left will know it. And, the guy looking back at you in the mirror will know it.”
“Keep focused,” said Coach Bobo, “between now and game time. Believe me, I’d rather be traveling with you to Greenville, than waiting in Greenville for the Yellow Jackets to arrive.”
At the half. With the score tied 7-7, there was a lot of positive chatter as the team gathered at the field house. “You had some distractions,” began Bobo, “but you played through them. Offensive line, you have been challenged. You have not played your best game. We have GOT to run the ball. Defense, keep flying to the ball. Have fun. Seniors, you said you would lead us in the classroom. Team, you said you would follow. Too many times, we play a great half. We have to have a complete game.”
It’s over. Having won a hard-fought game, the Jackets gathered on the field to celebrate. “This was a nail biter,” began Bobo. “Enjoy the victory. I heard that one or more of you went over to see how Lentz was doing. That’s class and that’s what Union is all about. Good job. Are you going home ‘satisfied’? I hope not. Enjoy yourself this weekend. Do what’s right and we’ll go back to work on Monday.”
Quick hitters. The coaches were very pleased with the scout team work of Mark Worthy and the expertise of the new quarterback coach, Coach Cameron Willis, who worked one-on-one with L. J. Mobley… the officiating was much better and evenhanded than it was in the Greer game…there was a major communication’s breakdown between Greenville and the High School League as the officials didn’t show up until 7:30, the time both teams thought the game would start…the juniors elected Devon Thompson, Roderick Gilmore, L. J. Mobley, and, for the second time, Chad Johnson as co-captains… sadly, many officials are overweight, out of shape, and are not very agile, creating some concern about their safety during the game…the sideline players have been much more supportive of on-field play than they were earlier in the season… players are often challenged to “leave nothing in their tank” in terms of their effort and there were several players, particularly on the defense, who were “running on fumes” …when they came off the field, they “filled up” on the sidelines, and went back out again…and again…
The journey continues. Greer II. Be there.
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