Rev. Emory: Take ability, add heart for success 


Pre-game devotional:
Coach Bobo began by reviewing the time schedule up to kickoff. “At 7:30 it’s up to you as to what happens,” he continued. “The first year I was here, I didn’t know what to expect. Last year, felt we had to have a great game. This year, you take care of business and we will win the ball game. You seniors know we can’t wait until captains come down to get ready. Everybody has a role no matter where you are. You have to perform it. As coaches we work from Sunday to Thursdays and we watch you on Friday. Rev. Emory, will be bringing the devotion. If you want to give a devotion, let him know.”

Team chaplain Rev. Emory began by reminding them that this is the real thing. “This is my third year and this is really special. I really enjoy it. I spent two weeks in Brazil ministering to them, but my heart wanted to be here. If you have a pastor who wants to do devotion, give me his name and telephone number and we’ll get together.

“I want to talk about ability as written on the board. Ability is God-given. You know God gave it to you. Your talent came from God. There is a parable from Jesus that talks about it. (Matthew 25:14-28)

“Before going on a trip, the master gave talents (money) to his men, one five, one two and another got one, and he wanted to see what they would do with their talents while he was gone. When he returned, he asked what they had done with their talents.The one who had five, had doubled his, the guy who had received two doubled his, but the guy who had one buried his in the back yard. He did nothing with it and faced severe judgment from his master for that.

“How do you develop the talent and ability God gave you? Understand that God does hold us responsible for what he has blessed us with. We will have to answer to him. God’s not gonna hold you responsible for what you can’t do.” At that point, Rev. Emory had a lineman and a running back come to the front.

“Now, coach Bobo wouldn’t be a very good coach if he tried to make a running back out of you (lineman) or make a lineman out of you (running back). The lineman is not responsible for hanging onto the ball and the running back is not responsible for the blocking scheme. When you get out in the world, God will hold you responsible for only those things you know how to do.

“You also have to be dependable. Practice, plus game day. God expects us to be dependable. On academics, be in the classroom on time. When I talk to coaches, I hear them talk about their D1 prospect on the football field, but he won’t do his academic work.

“Offensive line, stand up, plus Cameron Willis. Okay, coach Bobo, we have the ball. What’s the first play? 

“Twenty-two,” replied coach Bobo.

Emory then asked each player what their individual responsibilities were on that play. “We got 12 yards on that play,” continued Emory, “what’s the next play?” 

“Post and go.”

Emory then called for the backup guard and asked him what his responsibility was for that play. “He wasn’t expected to be on the field, but he knew his responsibility and we won’t be any better than the back-ups. Dependability, not just on the field, but in life as well.

“That comes to accountability, which means standing up when you make a mistake. Coach, that was my fault. That’s accountability. But, let your coaches coach you, even though they all coach differently. You start with your God-given ability. Be dependable on your assignment. Be accountable for your mistakes. Be coachable.

“Now, the final key in life and in football. I’ve been on the sidelines for 24 years and I have seen many players who need a heart transplant. If you take your ability and put your heart into it, we’ll be successful every night. You have a chance to start something special tonight. All the football truths apply to life as well.” And at that point, he closed with a prayer and blessing for the food.

Coach Bobo continued by pointing out that “this game doesn’t get us where we want to go or stop us. The foundation has been set. This is the next step. The momentum will flow back and forth. What are you gonna do? Our schedule was set last year. We could have picked three teams not close to the caliber of our first three, but we didn’t. We expect you to play at the highest level.”

The offense:
Coach Bobo began the meeting by reviewing some key plays and some of the calls.“Can’t wait to see you play,” continued Bobo.“You’ve put a lot of time into it. You have gone through a lot of growing pains. It’s not gonna be easy tonight. They are a good football team.You know you are a good team. Any questions on what to do? Keep the tempo going.”

Coach Kevin Lancaster continued by reminding the seniors that this would be their last time ever to play Spartanburg. “The worst feeling you will ever have will be 365 days from today when you are in the stands watching these juniors and sophomores play,” said Lancaster. “Take advantage of every opportunity. We are a great offensive unit. No excuses for getting called for motion. Watch the snap. Last year, at this time, I was scared to death but I’m not worried now. I know, I know, I know you are prepared. Think about what you have to do.”

Minutes away:
“We will kick off,” began coach Bobo. “Cover your lanes. Show them what Union football is all about. Give them three and out. Offense, execute.

Offensive line, finish your blocks. Running backs, don’t let one person put you on the ground. Receivers, look the ball into your hands. Be alert for a sudden change. We might go to Goal Line any time. We need emotion on the sidelines. You must create your own atmosphere.”

The half:
“You got shocked on the kickoff and are having to play uphill,” began Bobo. “But the last few minutes of the half you got it together. Defense, hang in there.

Brandon (Jeter), good job battling on coverage.When their quarterback has to rush his passes, he’s not effective. Offensive line, you were challenged and you met the challenge the last part of the quarter. Their best running play is the draw. We gotta stop it. Sidelines, we need you pulling.”

Just before heading back to start the second half, Bobo challenged the team to continue what it did towards the end of the second quarter. “This is when your character gets tested,” reminded Bobo.

Tackles and touchdowns:
Cramps, cramps, cramps, putting four Jackets down. It took three people working on offensive center Brian Gossett to massage and stretch his massive calf ... In case you wonder, the Jackets have accepted Brooke Jackson as a bonafide Yellow Jacket football player ... Brandon Jeter was encouraging his teammates along the sidelines when things weren’t looking good ... Kierre Smith and Freddie Bates ran hard with a lot of determination, forcing Spartanburg to gang tackle ... good Union crowd, which stayed with the Jackets until the waning moments of the fourth quarter ... thanks to Rev. Emory and Chad Lawson for helping prepare this column.

After the game, the Spartanburg quarterback led both teams in prayer at the 50-yard line. “This was a hard game,” began coach Bobo. “Spartanburg is a good team. We made too many mistakes. We’ll correct those on Monday. This loss does not affect our goal one bit and I’m glad to see that some of you are upset over this loss. Come in Monday, ready to go.”

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


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