Fun times at historic gridiron

Published 2:58 pm Thursday, November 29, 2018

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It was a cold, blustery night last Friday in Birmingham as Greenville traveled to take on Ramsay in the third round of the Class 5A state playoffs.

As a journalist, it was my first time to cover a quarterfinal high school football playoff game. Needless to say, it did not disappoint.

First off, I was thrilled to get to walk the sidelines at Lawson Field. There is a lot of football tradition and history that has occurred at Lawson Field. As a football junky, it was a real treat to visit.

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The game started off with two of the most electrifying plays I’ve ever witnessed in a high school football game as Greenville’s Bishop Riley returned the opening kickoff and Ramsay answered with a kickoff return of its own. After those two plays happened, I mumbled to myself, “this is playoff football.”

I won’t get into a full description of the game because that story is already available on this same page. I’d rather use these 400 to 500 words to describe the type of atmosphere I got to be a part of last Friday.

First off, the Greenville parents, marching band, cheerleaders and fans should be given high praises for their show of support in Birmingham. The visiting side at Lawson Field is quite large and the Tiger faithful nearly filled the entire section. When a team has fans that travel that well, it makes winning that much more special.

Riley’s kickoff return sent the Greenville crowd into frenzy. From the field, I was shocked at how loud the fans were. I’ve covered smaller college football games that weren’t that loud. So, I give a strong tip of the cap to everyone who traveled to Birmingham to cheer for the Tigers.

It’s also worth pointing out how many people back in Greenville were focused in on what was happening at Lawson Field. As the game went along, we at The Advocate posted updates to our Facebook page. We received an overwhelming amount of feedback just from those posts. The Greenville Tigers’ coaches and players should feel a big sense of pride knowing how much support they have from the community.

The evening was already cold, but at around the midway point of the third quarter the rain started coming down – hard. Rain was in the forecast, but I’m not sure how many people expected it start pouring that bad. Luckily for the players, the field was going to stay in good shape no matter what. Expensive as it may be, artificial turf can come in handy when you’re experiencing flood conditions.

This coming Friday night is going to be special. The chance for each to team to play for a state title will be on the line and with it the possibility of winning a state championship. I expect the atmosphere inside Tiger Stadium to be absolutely electric. The Greenville High School football program hasn’t come this close to winning a state championship since 1994.

Could it happen this year? I wouldn’t be surprised if it did.