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First of all- I enjoyed coaching more than you know. I originally said yes to Coach Perry because Kayli was playing- and because Sam was thinking about playing instead of baseball. I figured I was going to be out there anyway, so I might as well coach. When Greer High asks me to do something, I usually try to make it happen. Tracy Miller is a very good friend of mine, and he had invited me to help on many occasions, and I did last year when Kayli started playing. Once I got out there with you guys, I can honestly say I enjoyed each & every one of you and being your coach was a great experience!
I knew we had to get more people out to play, and originally that was my #1 goal. I knew we had Sam Merrell and he was good enough to be anyone's #1 man. We had Noah, Kayli, Hunter, Braeden, and TJ coming back. But before long we had 21 people practicing golf! We lost Tyler, and that hurt. But the #1 thing I asked of you all, is to treat the golf team like a REAL team, and to take it seriously. I would say for the most part, most of you did that.
I watched Berea play in the Region Tournament Monday. Other than Sam M, that's not terribly far off from where we were last year. So to see how we did Monday, just a handful of shots from making it to the Upper State Championship. We were really close. We played above our season performance at Region, and were 9 shots away. The interesting thing is- even though we shot our lowest nine hole score of the season- twice- most of you were still upset with yourselves and think you could have done better. WHAT AN IMPROVEMENT!!
As the season went on I got to know many of you better & better. I enjoyed seeing you practice most every day and several of you joined Greer Country Club. It was great seeing you getting into golf.
I want to thank ALL our seniors, Sam-Andy-Hunter-Jake. Coach Miller commented on the bus that it was Sam & Andy that basically "saved" the golf team a couple years ago by sticking it out. Hunter helped in many ways this year with fundraising and he never quit trying to get better. Jake- probably the toughest thing for me all season was you not getting to play in Region. You deserved it.
Me coaching and playing often with the team improved my golf game as well! I went from struggling to find consistency to playing pretty well for an old guy. My last round at Greer was a 70 on 18 holes, a 35 in the Cornbread, and a 73 at Links Sunday in our practice round. Hopefully I'll get to keep playing with you guys going forward.
Couple of things-
I want to meet with EACH of you individually now that the season is over. I want to give you my assessment of where you are, and what I think you need to work on this spring/summer. I will also give you a list of tournaments that are in the area that would be invaluable to gaining experience playing in competition. Wonder why you can shoot 41 or whatever playing on your own and then in qualifying or a match you shoot 10-15 shots higher? It's because when that bell rings for competition, it's just different. Summer tournaments will help that greatly. I will also once again give you some information on joining Greer Country Club. The Manager has already told me he will extend a special deal to Greer High golfers and/or their families.
Also - we will have our Golf Banquet coming up. I will get the date from Greer CC that we can do it. We'll have some fun with a par 3 competition, then grill some burgers by the pool.
I really feel like if we can continue to practice and develop, we will be one of those teams playing in the Upper State & State Championship next year!!
It's an honor to be your coach!!
Toughness and the character to make a big play
By Robbie Gravley
OK so last year Greer made some changes in the athletic department and on the football staff. Steve Woodward was Defensive Coordinator since the 70's, and the Athletic Director since Stuart Holcombe's flirtation with Greenwood following the 1994 State Championship. Travis Perry, a Greer Alum who had a short but highly successful stint as Head Coach was brought back after a couple years at Christ Church to fill both of those roles as A.D. and Defensive Coordinator. This move was extremely popular among Greer faithful, as they remember Coach Perry playing QB at Dooley Field and as a long time assistant prior to him being promoted to the Head Coach position. Once there, he embraced the community and was always willing to talk to a fan and inspired his teams with confidence. Many times, his locker room speeches made the Jackets bust down the door of the locker room on their way to victory after victory.
One of the buzzwords the last couple of years in football has been "toughness". We talked last year about changing the culture around the Greer program to reflect more toughness. When Coach Young hired former Jacket Mazzie Drummond, Mazzie talked about it. Said "We want to be the toughest team on the field every time we walk out there. We also want to instill into those guys that we expect to win every game. It is unacceptable for a Greer High team to think they have to be 2nd to anyone." Sounds great doesn't it? I want that as much as anyone, but it is easier said than done. You need some great, confident coaches who know what toughness and a winning attitude is- hence the hiring of Mazzie, Erie Williams, and Coach Perry from some of the old Greer teams, AND you need players...correction, you need players who are leaders that are willing to be tough, not back down, and hold their teammates accountable when they let up.
See, there is no letting up when it comes to toughness. When you have a team on the cusp of defeat, you have to be willing to step on their throat. When you own team is on the edge of losing, you have to rise up and find a way and refuse to accept that you might not win. Are you going to win every game? Of course not. But you should always believe and be willing to do whatever it takes to win. And someone has to be WILLING to make a play.
And THAT my friends, is another huge ingredient that I believe has been missing the last few years, and I also believe that this "missing ingredient" falls smack dab in the middle of the category of TOUGHNESS. Let's just look at a few names from some great seasons that the Yellow Jacket Sports Network has been around. Justin Hill, Lamont Williams< Lajerick Cannon, Walter Booker, Knox White, Brad Dill, Corky Howell, Derrick White, Mazzie, Erie, Jeff Williams, Alan Mills, Courtney Wright, Chad Cartwright, Josh Williams, Sinclair Cannon, Arthur Sitton, Nelson Welch,, Jeff Rumsey, Sergio Gilliam, Chad Hannon, Reuben Wright, Dominique Parks, and probably 50 more guys...and I'm REAL sorry I didn't write more names, because I know there are some real stars I didn't mention because I'm just spouting them out from memory. Point is though, these guys were tough. They would pop you in the mouth in a skinny minute. They expected to win and went out there and stole the candy from a little kid that was trying to get in their way. See, when you have toughness inside you, you show now mercy or compassion. I'm not talking about being a poor sport or running up a score. I'm taking about going out and dominating your opponent and doing what it takes to win, AND being WILLING to be the guy who makes the play. THE play.Take Chad Cartwright for expample. This kid was about as big as my 4th grade daughter Kayli. Compared to his opponents Chad didn't belong on the field, or the basketball coart for that matter. But he left Greer as one of the few athletes in history with a State Championship ring in both sports. When the game was on the line, Chad could, would, and did make the play. I remember the bubble screen against Union that gave Greer the go ahead points in a big win. The next year in the Upper State Championship game against Union again he got behind a defender just enough to outleap the DB for a touchdown. In the State Finals in basketball, Chad dropped 31 points on Lake Marion for Coach Neely's title run. A poor free throw shooter early in the season, Chad hit 10 of 11 in Columbia, including five in a row in the final minute. Yes Chad was tough, and he wasn't scared to make a play.We have had lots of tough guys at Greer, even over the last few years, and it is certainly being talked about a lot more. Now we need to add to the equation those guys, THAT guy, who has the swag and the confidence....the TOUGHNESS to win a game for you when it's all on the line. WHO will it be?
There are some guys on the 2011 Jackets than CAN be those types of players. I know the coaches are coaching it and asking for it. Hopefully as the season unfolds, we will see those guys take that on and lead others to be tough, including the willingness to make that play.
The Yellow Jacket Sports NETWORK?
By Robbie Gravley
On October 9,1990 when Van, Chad Lister and myself got in the car & headed to Byrnes for our first radio broadcast, we decided to call our radio crew the "Yellow Jacket Sports Network". David Holtzclaw helped tote stuff and do whatever was needed and Smoke Price would keep stats and dig around for other scores on a scratchy, predominantly static radio. (hence the birth of Gilmore High) Chad & I shared the play by play duties and Van was the first sideline reporter. We called ourselves the "Network" kinda to be funny, and kinda because like a lot of things, that's what just came out. It's been a great run. Many times before a broadcast during our "pre-game" prayer someone will give thanks that WE are the ones that GET to broadcast the games. We know it's an honor to do it, evidenced by the fact that I've had at dozens of people over the years volunteer or ask to help us with the broadcasts. My reply is always the same. "Thanks but there's only one microphone"!
But with technology expanding like wildfire, it seems like the "Yellow Jacket Sports Network" name might have been a pretty good choice after all. Since that first broadcast at Byrnes, a 34-7 Greer victory, our broadcasts have always been on our "flagship" WPJM AM-800. (Other stations have called, but as long as Bobby Cohen, Jimmy Booker and crew are at WPJM we will originate our broadcasts there. They are loyal to us, and we'll be loyal to them!) There have been some commercial radio ratings measurements from time to time. Bobby Cohen showed me one 2 years ago that showed 24,000+ listeners to a game: #1 in the Friday evening time slot for the Greenville-Spartanburg listening audience! Then the summer of 2002 Van & I started a website, yellowjacketsports.net. Since that time we've gotten over 335,000 hits, making the little website perhaps the longest running and most visited website of it's kind in the state. David Holtzclaw deserves a lot of credit for his work on the website the last few years adding & updating things along the way. Several years ago with the help of some great sponsors and a company called Teamline, we began streaming the WPJM broadcast on the internet from yellowjacketsports.net. It's not unusual for us to get back home on a Friday night and see that we had several thousand connections to the internet broadcast. That means as many as 30,000 people are tuning in to Greer High football on a Friday night! Even when we are out of range of the radio station, fans at the games can pick up our radio broadcasts in and around the stadiums on an open FM frequency that we send out. We started that so that Worm (our colorful sideline announcer) could pick up the signal. The by-product of that is if he can hear it, you can too!
Now there are even more ways to keep up and stay connected. We have a Facebook page, simply called Yellow Jacket Sports Network that has over 300 members. You can follow us on Twitter @YJSN1. We have a free text service. (with over 1400 subscribers) To join that group, simply text JACKETS to 41411. Just this year, WPJM began streaming their radio station on their own website 800wpjm.com. We link yellowjacketsports.net over to WPJM's site and there you go...anywhere in the world with an internet connection and you are listening to Greer High football. We've gotten texts from Iran, New Zealand, London, Hawaii, Nova Scotia, and literally all over the contenental United States from people tuning in! I just found out today that WPJM is available on the TuneIn radio app on your cell phone, iPad or other mobile device. The app is free. Just search fro WPJM, click it, and once again....Greer High football on your cell phone. This app & feature has added MILLIONS of people the opportunity to hear the Yellow Jacket Sports NETWORK!!
Here are the ways to follow the Yellow Jackets:
1- WPJM AM-800
3- Internet broadcast: yellowjacketsports.net and 800wpjm.com
4- Out of area road games: and open FM frequency between 97 & 100 FM
5- Facebook: Yellow Jacket Sports Network
6- Twitter: @YJSN1
7- Text Service: text JACKETS to 41411
8- From your cell phone or mobile device: install the TuneIn Radio app & search WPJM
9- ??????? I'm pretty sure there will be more to come!
So next time you hear one of us say, "Welcome back to the Yellow Jacket Sports Network", it really is now a "network" of ways to tune in and stay connected to Greer High football. With all those ways to connect, it really has become a NETWORK. All you need to keep up with the Jackets is a either radio, a cell phone, or an internet connection. It's a privilige to each of us to bring you the story every week. Go Jackets!!
Kind of setting myself up here, but I think 2010 is going to be a great season for Greer High football. The Jackets just lost a tough one 29-28 to a Rock Hill team that finished the 2009 season 11-1. They not only went toe to toe with the AAAA Bearcats, they were clearly the best team on the field. A series of questionnable calls kept Rock Hill even in the game. Now having said that and getting it out of the way, we all know in the big picture that game doesn't mean a thing other than taking away the opportunity for a 15-0 season. Ask the 13-2 Greer team in 2003 team if that really matters when you are holding up that trophy the 1st Saturday in December. What matters is building confidence and establishing yourself as a contender as you move into your conference season.
Coach Young has quietly done some very important work over the past 2-3 years, bringing back some former Yellow Jacket champions to work inside the program. Obiviously bringing back Travis Perry as defensive coordinator (a tip of the cap to Principal Waters for the "Athletic Director in Waiting" arrangement that helped make that possible) has been huge. Erie Williams is one of the most positive and energetic young coaches around. A gigantic pickup this season was the arrival of Mazzie Drummond, the former Greer QB who played for Greer in an era that when Greer walked on the field, they expected, they owned an entitlement- to win. Mazzie told us before the Seneca game, "I'm trying to get our guys to be tough. We want to be the toughest guys on the field every game. We have to believe that whatever the circumstances may be, that we are still going to win. We are going to believe it, and because we have practiced hard, and because we are tough, then we will go out there and execute it." Strong words, but music for the ears of starved Jacket fans longing for some good old day tail-whippings and late game heroics but more recently endured such unthinkable turns such as a painful loss to Riverside.....Riverside, on their home field last season in a game that would have clinched a conference championship.
Now, they still have to go out there and produce- Mazzie's words aren't gonna do it by themselves, but it's a definite start, and if the play of his defensive backs are any indication early on, that one unit may be the most improved on the team. This past week former Greer great and Clemson Tiger Sergio Gilliam was spotted on the sidelines.Gilliam is a current AF2 player who currently plays for the Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz. Another great Jacket who made big plays at big moments who can bring some great coaching and a lot of swagger to the field.
It is doubtful that Greer will be put into the predicament again this season that they faced this past Friday night. Two hours from home, playing a powerhouse Big 16 school, out of area officials on the opponents home turf against a long-time coach with 250 career wins. Tough to overcome, but remember the Jackets almost doubled the offensive output of the Bearcats, time of posession, and almost every statistical category except of course, those little yellow flags. They even made big plays at big times in the game. They didn't win, but they didn't neccessarily lose either. Greer should have a dose of confidence salted with a big chip on their shoulder heading into the game this week at Berea. A "get well" game would be just what the doctor ordered heading into an open date and then preparation for the next big game on the schedule, at Greenville on September 17, a team who leaned on a strong defense in pushing the Yellow Jackets around last year at Dooley Field.
These next two games will go a long way in determining whether the things Mazzie Drummond talked about are taking root, or if they are just words from a proud Yellow Jacket. Coach Young can bring back those guys, along with Arthur Sitton, Sinclair Cannon, Justin Hill, Chad Cartwright, and even the great Nelson Welch, but ultimately it is the kids on the field that have to let those words and that Greer Yellow Jacket swagger sink in and become part of who they are. The first two games of this season suggest that they are. Join us at Berea this week to see if the Jackets are ready to start making that statement to the rest of the Upstate.
Wow. What a truly great football game that was Friday night as Greer defeated the Greenville Red Raiders 35-34 in overtime. I hate that I am hearing that some Red Raider supporters are blaming their demise on officiating or whatever. Greenville had a wonderful season, and those kids don't need it to be marred by a bunch of grown ups looking to place blame somewhere for what happened.
Fact is, both teams scored a touchdown following a pentaly that kept a drive alive. In the 1st half, Greenville had a bad snap on a punt, that would have resulted in a first down for Greer deep in Raider territory, but an illegal procedure pentaly on Greenville let them punt it again. Then on the ensuing punt, Greer was called for hitting the snapper, resulting in a 15 yard penalty and a Greenville first down. They would go on to score a TD. Then in the 3rd quarter on a pass play near the Greenville sideline, the Raiders were called for a dead ball penalty that gave Greer a first down. A few plays later, Sinclair hit Chad Cartwright with a 40 yard TD pass.
Beyond those two calls, I don't remember a call that was controversial. Greenville might argue the late hit out of bounds on the Greer sideline with under a minute to go in regulation wasn't bad enough to warrant a flag. OK then, I haven't seen the tape, but we missed the field goal and went it overtime, so it's a mute point.
What I wish could happen is that winners & losers could congratulate each other for a game well played in a game that will go down in the history books as one of the greatest ever. Greenville is an extremely talented bunch. What Coach Frost, Sosebee, and that staff has done over there is nothing short of remarkable. They have turned a once downtrodden program to the very top tier. Winning is something that is expected from them, and the players have bought into that.
One thing I have learned from being a Greer Yellow Jacket. Greer expects to win every Friday night they run out onto the field. They fully expected to beat Greenville last week. I know, I talked to several players before the game. They had respect for Greenville, but they also felt like they would win. I have also learned that in spite of a great tradition and a great winning percentage, you just aren't going to win every single game. And when you don't, there is no reason to look to fire "blame" off at anybody that you can. Just take it with class & dignity and move on to fight another day.
Greer won that game Friday night because they have incredible HEART. When they were down 21-7, and 28-14, and even 28-21 with Greenville driving at the Greer 28 with under 4 minutes to play, I don't think they had even begun to think it was over. They went down, way down, deep inside and found a way to claw back, and ultimately, get it done.
Travis Perry has the biggest heart of them all. He is the hardest working, most dedicated caoch I have ever seen. He lives & breathes those kids, and Greer High Football. I am proud that he is our Coach!
One thing that I like so much about the Greer-Union series is, even though both schools truly want to beat each other, there's that respect that both programs and their fans have for one another. I mentioned to Eddie Adams, the host of the great Union website, unionyellowjackets.com, is that I think most Greer people actually pull for Union when they are not playing Greer. And that's really something, considering the competition that exists for two schools that have met in the Upstate Finals four of the last five years. They beat us, we just need to work harder. We beat them this year, and they shook our hands and Coach Anthony said "congratulations!" Whoever wins this week, I'm sure, will say & do the same thing. And they'll pull for the other one in the Championship game.
But then they will do one more thing. They'll get back to work, determined to get the next one. Robbie Gravley
My good friend Dean Hawkins sent me this email Friday. I wish so much that there were more people in this world like Jody McLeod from Kingston, Tennessee. I can just picture this scene described below at Dooley Field, or at the great crowd we had at Nixon Field. If we did this, God WOULD Bless America! RG
STATEMENT AT A FOOTBALL GAME
This is a statement that was read over the PA system at the football
Roane County High School, Kingston, Tennessee, by school Principal, Jody
McLoud, on September 1, 2000. I thought it was worth sharing with the
and hope you will forward it to all your friends. It shows clearly just
far this country has gone in the wrong direction.
"It has always been the custom at Roane County High School football
to say a prayer and play the National Anthem, to honor God and Country."
Due to a recent ruling by the Supreme Court, I am told that saying a
is a violation of Federal Case Law. As I understand the law at this
can use this public facility to approve of sexual perversion and call it
alternate lifestyle," and if someone is offended, that's OK.
I can use it to condone sexual promiscuity, by dispensing condoms and
calling it, "safe sex." If someone is offended, that's OK.
I can even use this public facility to present the merits of killing an
unborn baby as a "viable means of birth control." If someone is
I can designate a school day as "Earth Day" and involve students in
activities to worship religiously and praise the goddess "Mother Earth"
call it "ecology."
I can use literature, videos and presentations in the classroom that
people with strong, traditional Christian convictions as "simple minded"
"ignorant" and call it "enlightenment."
However, if anyone uses this facility to honor God and to ask Him to
this event with safety and good sportsmanship, then Federal Case Law is
This appears to be inconsistent at best, and at worst, diabolical.
Apparently, we are to be tolerant of everything and anyone, except God
Nevertheless, as a school principal, I frequently ask staff and students
abide by rules with which they do not necessarily agree. For me to do
otherwise would be inconsistent at best, and at worst, hypocritical. I
suffer from that affliction enough unintentionally. I certainly do not
to add an intentional transgression.
For this reason, I shall "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's,"
refrain from praying at this time.
"However, if you feel inspired to honor, praise and thank God and ask
in the name of Jesus, to bless this event, please feel free to do so. As
as I know, that's not against the law----yet."
One by one, the people in the stands bowed their heads, held hands with
another and began to pray.
They prayed in the stands. They prayed in the team huddles. They prayed
the concession stand and they prayed in the Announcer's Box!
The only place they didn't pray was in the Supreme Court of the United
States of America - the Seat of "Justice" in the "one nation, under
Somehow, Kingston, Tennessee remembered what so many have forgotten. We
given the Freedom OF Religion, not the Freedom FROM Religion. Praise God
that His remnant remains!
People ask a lot.......do you work for the radio station? "well, no." They ask.......how much do they pay you to broadcast those games? "well, nothing." And after a strange look, I usually say something like, "but if I had to, I'd probably pay them to let me do it!"
Yes, it's that time again, and after 12 years, now beginning the 13th season, I must tell you that I have every bit of enthusiasm for doing the broadcasts that I did that first night at Nixon Field at Byrnes when Chad Lister, Van Brannon, & myself signed on for our first ever game on WPJM. Then station manager, the late Fred Jenkins, a wonderful, funny, kind man, gave us our shot, and we will always remember Fred. Current manager Bobby Cohen has never blinked at keeping the tradition going, and we appreciate his loyalty and freedom he gives to us.
I was having the conversation today with a guy I had just met about football. He was a relative newcomer to the Upstate. He did know about Greer High football, so naturally, I told him what I GET to do on Friday nights. (notice I said, "get to", not have to!) Well, he was just so excited, and asked me a hundred questions, including the one I knew was coming....do you think that I could ever help you? I know if I have been asked that question once, I have been asked 143 times! I know I speak for all the Crew when I say that we feel so fortunate that WE are the ones that get to broadcast the games....to be your eyes when you can't be there, to add some stats, analysis, and information if you listen while you are there. And on top of that, not only do we get to do the games on the radio, we get to do GREER games! My new friend, who was quite the sports fan, called out,& I won't name them,4 other schools that,if he could announce for, he would get a rush out of doing.Union High School's website has a saying at the top of the home page "Tradition Never Graduates". How true! Just to be a part of the Greer tradtion, is just awesome!
When we first started broadcasting my Dad was sick, & I had the privilige of, through the radio, telling him what his beloved Jackets were doing. And through the years, I have met hundreds of people that truly depend on WPJM, and us, they've told me that, to bring the game to where they are. I'd walk to the sun & back for that feeling! The equipment, the format, and even some of the faces have changed through the first dozen years, but the exitement of saying "Hi everybody", or "Touchdown Yellow Jackets!", has only gotten better.
Soooooooo, it's a thrill for us, for me, to be involved with this great program, at this great school, with this great group of guys! Makes me feel like the luckiest guy in town!
| Robbie Gravley- A Message from the Voice | Van Brannon - X's and O's | David Holtzclaw --- Plugged In! | Steven Gay- On the Sideline with the WORM | Red's Recap - Inside the Numbers | Justin Miller - The Way I See It | Palmetto Ski Expedition | Gilmore |
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