Saturday Morning Quarterback

Andy Reed • Updated Aug 19, 2017 at 10:30 AM

During halftime of Friendship Christian’s season-opening football game, Commander assistant coach Tim Filson asked me how long had I been covering high school football.

Well, that’s a number too hard to come up with by counting fingers. I can say it goes back to when Filson was an FCS linemen before John McNeal arrived as coach.

I can also say that an hour before Tim posed that question, I heard the best pregame prayer during those 32 of the last 34 years. This isn’t counting Family Baptist Church pastor Joe Nelm’s humorous pre-race prayer from Nashville Superspeedway’s final season in 2011 which went viral, made national news and is still available for viewing on YouTube.

Before the Commanders and Lancaster Christian Knights took to Pirtle Field, FCS-alum Adam Tune grabbed the pressbox microphone and asked God for protection of the players. He then thanked God for the coaches and volunteers who had worked hard and sacrificed during the long hot summer,, it a the cheerleaders and their coaches who also worked and sacrificed those same many hours, the concession stand workers and the bus drivers who drove the team to the game and will take the players home.

Then he mentioned the officials who have the thankless job of calling the game knowing they can’t win, that with every flag they throw somebody is going to be unhappy, but because of them, the game could be played.

He prayed for the parents, that they may cheer and support their children but not live vicariously through them, not to boo when the flag goes against their team, or be unhappy when someone else’s child, and not their’s, scores a touchdown or gets a sack.

He asked for the players to play with all of their heart, but to also remember, particularly the rest of us, that it’s just a game. Remind them they are playing not just for their coach, school or family, but God.

In my 32 years of covering football, I’ve never heard a bad pregame prayer, but this one should be repeated before every game, at those which still have the invocation and even more so at those places which are no longer allowed to.

IIt was forceful. It was appropriate to the audience and occasion. And badly needed in today’s society.

Unlike Joe Nelms’ prayer, this one wasn’t recorded. Maybe Adam can come back and give an encore. And this time, may someone hit a ‘record’ button.

Longtime Blue Devil fan misses first game since ’79

A Cal Ripken-like streak ended last night when James Manning missed his first Lebanon High football game - home and away - since 1979 due to illness.

Accompanied by his wife Barbara to most games, James had attended all 398 Blue Devil games (even the playoffs in Memphis the last two years) since work forced him to miss a contest against Shelbyville in 1979.

Prior to that Shelbyville game, he had attended every LHS game since 1966. Had he not missed that ’79 game, the streak would be around 530 or so covering 51 seasons.

That’s dedication, especially for someone who doesn’t have a child or grandchild on the team every year. That’s a lot of wins and probably even more losses. Some thick and too much thin. A lot of loyal fans weren’t blamed for missing the trips to Memphis when the outmanned Blue Devils had little chance to win.

Hopefully, he’ll be back soon and start another streak.

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