Sunday, November 27, 2016

Two High School Football Championship Teams


Forty years ago today on November 25th in cold rain the Friday after Thanksgiving my Gainesville High School Red Elephant team with over 30 seniors lost a double overtime game after a heartbreaking end.  In this game we totally dominated the Dalton team statistically in a quarter-final play-off game. We would have won on the old rules concerning games ending in a tie.  A new overtime format started in 1976. Our goal of being the first GHS state champs in the GHSA playoff era were crushed.  In our school’s rich tradition we had over thirty players whose fathers also played together on the Red Elephant football team.  We lost what was maybe the first overtime game due to some injuries and just the way the ball bounces.

Eleven years ago today on Nov. 25, 2005 I was thrilled to be the varsity football team chaplain as well as the middle school coach and player parent for the Riverside Military Academy Eagles 2005 State Champions. We "Donkey Konged" First Presbyterian Day School 55-7 on this same date for the our state championship crown.  Both games were played the Friday after Thanksgiving.  We were even accused of running up the score even though we played our whole squad including freshman.

Scripture says in Matthew 5:45 that the Lord “sends rain on the just and the unjust.” Whatever - Today I will meet a teammate at the game in Dalton 40 years later to the day. We will pull hard for the Coffee Trojans and my nephew who was a 4 year letterman for the Gainesville High Big Red Elephants.  He is the current Coffee Offensive Coordinator Michael Perry.  We are hoping with his play calls he can help give the Dalton Catamounts something in memory of the GHS 1976 team! We can celebrate knowing GHS contributed to an  a** kicking of Dalton if not somewhat late.

My senior year ended in a great team disappointment in a the double overtime loss.  My son’s senior year ended with a dominant performance leaving no doubt who was the best football team in our classification.

To the 2005 champs.  I love you deeply.  That special time together can still lift me up in challenging times. I sign off to the Riverside Military Academy Eagle’s State Champion team with Isaiah 40:31(NIV) “But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary,They shall walk and not faint.”
- remember you are a champion everyday, forever.

To my 1976 Gainesville High School Big Red Elephants, I see men in the second half of life heading towards the fourth quarter.  Recently we have had funeral services for dear friends like our quarterback and a defensive linemen from that team. Both were from our 1977 senior class. I know we are champions because of how we have remained as a team in tougher situations than a fumble running out the clock or bad weather.  I sign off with Proverbs 18:24 (NIV) “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”  - I think of Christ first and then my teammates when I read that verse. Especially in times of personal loss I'm still on a team. I still know I was and am on on two Champion teams.

                                                        Celebration after a group price was paid.

Friends and champions

                                     Fletcher Law GHS 1976 team, Graham Law RMA 2005
                                                           George Law GHS 1947 team

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