Jackets hold Thanksgiving practice before Jefferson win
Rockmart football alumni members showed their support for the Jackets last Thursday at the team’s last practice before they faced the Jefferson County Warriors.
Jacket football players from previous years were invited to wear their Letterman jackets and watch the current high school team as they prepared for the third round of state playoffs.
Over 60 alumni members met at 9 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day to meet the team and show their support.
After watching the Jackets run through the motions of practice one last time before the big away game, past graduates were asked to give words of motivation and encouragement to the team.
“You can see this wall of brothers standing behind you. We support you guys and we’ve prayed for this day to come,” Denzel Darden told the team. “It makes us proud to watch you because we feel like you guys are playing for us. You’re playing for what we couldn’t finish,” he added.
Alumni members not only got to see the team perform, but also experienced a reunion with their past teammates and shared their football memories.
“You guys have a lot in common with the team I played with. The 1989 team was undefeated, went into the playoffs, and was ranked number two in the state,” Polk County Board of Education member Chris Culver told the Jackets.
Players from recent years also share their flashbacks and motivation, especially because they played on the same field with many of the 2018 team members.
“The Class of 2017 is different than the other classes that have spoken. We played with y’all. We set an example for you guys,” Blake Holloman said.
Head coach Biff Parson was surprised with the large turnout of alumni and was thankful for their support.
“Three years ago when I started this program, I told the sophomores who are now seniors, about the vision of changing the community. ‘You’re going to change the way people think about football here at Rockmart,’ I said. And this is what they’ve created in three years. That’s something to be prideful of,” Parson said.
The event gave the community a chance to show its pride for the football team.
“We were excited to be able to put this black and gold back on,” Darden said. “We bleed black and gold no matter where we go. We can move out of state or across the country and we will still bleed black and gold. That’s why when Coach Parson put out a call asking for the alumni to show up, we were pulling out our jackets and throwing the spider webs off,” he added.
Thursday’s practice was especially great for alumni who coached and trained the boys when they played at a younger age.
“We talked about this moment when they were five and six years old because we knew they had the talent,” William Hudson Jr. said.
The encouragement and motivation was certainly an impact on the Yellow Jackets as they prepared for the 3-plus hour road trip to Louisville the following day. It made some impact, as the Jackets came home victors over Jefferson County with a 48-13 finish and will host this Friday against the Callaway Cavaliers as the lone team undefeated in Class AA.
Above: Head coach Biff Parson talks to the team during a Thanksgiving morning practice at Rockmart High School. The team were joined by alumni who spoke words of encouragement to the topranked Jackets. Left: Players stayed in helmets but kept the pads off for a Thanksgiving morning practice ahead of their big trip to Jefferson County for the third round of the playoffs.