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Panthers Ready To Roll

The big game is not until Saturday, but Panther pride wasroaring Wednesday evening as some football players, parents,volunteers and Grid Iron Club members began decorating theBrookhaven High School football float for the Christmas paradeThursday evening.

While the parade will help usher in the Christmas spirit, thefloat decorators hope the 72-foot blue and red garnishedtractor-trailer drums up a few extra emotions for paradespectators.

“I hope they’re excited,” said Dewey Stailey, whose extra pointFriday night booted the Panthers to the state championship game. “Ihope it gets them pumped for the game.”

Thursday’s activities kick off at 6:45 p.m. with the county’sfire brigade, followed at 7 by floats, bands and other paradeparticipants.

In front of the BHS football float will be John Bridges. Makinghis way on a 1960 Corvette, Bridges will mark the route for thefootball team much like he has marked the downs for the past 51years on the sideline.

Apart from coaches, players and cheerleaders, this year’s floatwill have a familiar wheelman.

The Rev. Charles Butler, who has driven the float for the pastseven years, thinks this year’s procession has a similar feel tothe 2004 motorcade – when Ole Brook took home the state title.

“I’m pulling the 2011 state champions,” declared Butler. “That,my friend, is the bottom line.”

While excitement was filling the chilly night air Wednesday,some participants could not help but get overwhelmed when thinkingabout the football team’s accomplishments this year.

“Just tears,” said Chasity Wall, BHS attendance coordinator,when describing her emotions. “Some towns doubted them, but theynever gave up.”

In addition to the “South State Champions” themed float,championship weekend will kickoff with a bonfire across from HomeDepot at 5:30 p.m. on Friday.