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King Field could be overflowing for BHS vs. Lawrence

The King Field stands should be packed Friday night. A fewthousand folks will gather to watch the Brookhaven Panthers andLawrence County Cougars collide in the regular season finale. Stateplayoff opportunity rides on the outcome.

There’s also community pride at stake. For sure, some low-valuewagers will be made. “I’ll bet you a Coke Lawrence County wins.””I’ll bet you a steak dinner the Panthers win.”

Obviously, the win-at-all-costs approach has been blown far outof proportion. We often forget these football players are justteenagers, high school students who love the game of football. Nomatter who wins Friday night, the sun is going to rise Saturdaymorning. Football is supposed to be fun.

If you stop and contemplate the moment, Nov. 2, 2000; it’samazing how times have changed. The Supreme Court has recentlyruled against pregame invocations led by students or adults.

Public prayer is considered politically incorrect. On the flipside, a coach can cuss his players like mongrel dogs or plantationslaves in practice and in games. That’s fine. “You gotta fire ’emup,” growled one belligerent coach who should be muzzled.

Harken back several years for a moment, 47 years to be exact. Itis November, 1953, Austin, Texas. A football hotbed in the oldSouthwest Conference, Baylor University and the University of Texasare ready for their annual gridiron war.

Pastor Blake Smith of Austin’s University Baptist Churchprovides the pregame invocation. Certainly, it is worth repeatingin this column.

Dear God,

It is clear that Thou has given us a life with many differentshades and colors. For this we are grateful. We humbly accept thefact that some things in our lives are very important. They are tobe enjoyed but not taken too seriously. The occasion that brings ustogether today is one of those happy interludes in life. Help us toaccept it as such.

In thy presence, we know that no issues of great importance aregoing to be settled here this afternoon. No souls are going to belost or saved by the final figures on the scoreboard. No greatcause is at stake. It is one of those pleasures which Thou hasmeant for Thy children to enjoy.

Do not let us forget that it is just a game to be enjoyed today,talked about tomorrow and forgotten the day afterward. Keep usmindful of this, dear God, for we are human and we easily lose ourperspective and allow the things that are most important to becomethe victims of the things less important. Amen.

The Rev. Joe N. McKeever, pastor of First Baptist Church,Kenner, La., shared this pregame prayer in a recent BaptistRecord column.

Meanwhile, Professor Hoopla, B.S., plans to let his hairdown and enjoy the game Friday night. Most of the time he keeps itneatly tucked away under his cap.

Hoopla predicted the winners of 23 games last week and got18 of them correct. Here’s a list of this weekend’s winners,starting with two Thursday night community collegespecials.

Co-Lin at Jones County: Bobcats claim a home fieldadvantage as the Wolves end their season a losing note. JonesCounty 26-12.

Hinds at Southwest: The South Division championshipis up for grabs tonight and the Bears are ready to dethrone theEagles. Southwest 24-21.

Lawrence County at Brookhaven: Excitement fills theair Friday night as the Panthers land a berth in the stateplayoffs. Brookhaven 28-20.

Natchez Cathedral at Bogue Chitto: Bobcats enjoy arare win over the Green Wave as they prepare for the stateplayoffs. Bogue Chitto 21-12.

Pisgah at Enterprise: Dragons are ambushed by theYellow Jackets on Harry Cole Field. Enterprise35-26.

Wesson at Hinds AHS: Cobras conclude a massiverebuilding season with three straight victories. Wesson29-8.

In other area games, Crystal Springs should shaveHazlehurst 14-12, Parklane should swamp Hillcrest 29-6, AmiteCounty should take North Pike 28-7 and Wilkinson County should stopFranklin County 25-10.

Ole Miss at Arkansas: Razorbacks will find a way towin on their home turf. Arkansas 28-17.

Mississippi State at Kentucky: Perhaps the Bulldogscan outscore the Wildcats in a wild show. State38-28.

Louisville at Southern Miss: Suddenly the GoldenEagles are in need of an offensive boost. Southern Miss27-7.

In other Magnolia State collegiate action, ValleyState should beat Alcorn State 18-8, Jackson State should edgeAlabama A&M 33-28, Delta State should whip Arkansas Tech 32-10,Belhaven should edge Union 10-7, Rhodes should beat Millsaps 21-13,and Texas Lutheran should clip Mississippi College27-24.