Tigers, Vandals participate in post-scrimmage prayer


Pre-season football scrimmages normally are not very newsworthy but what happened following the Aug. 17 scrimmage at Van’s Memorial Stadium between two Van Zandt County rivals, the Wills Point Tigers and the Van Vandals, has drawn quite a bit of positive feedback.

After the two teams went through the normal handshake line, all of the coaches and players from both teams formed a circle around midfield and knelt and prayed together.

Fans on both sides stopped where they were and quietly observed the prayer time. When the players and coaches rose to their feet, the fans showed their support by cheering and applauding.

“It was pretty much a spur of the moment thing,” recalled Vandal Head Coach Jared Moffatt. “Coach Cranfill asked me about it after the scrimmage was over and I agreed that we should do it. Our team normally prays before and after each game in the locker room. I am not surprised by the reaction from the people in the stands. We are fortunate to be in a community and a county like this that still values prayer. It is nice to live and be in a place where you can do something like was done in our stadium Friday night. It is pretty special. I am glad, but not surprised, that our community would get on board. It is great to live and work here.”

Wills Point Head Coach Greg Cranfill said that his team normally prays in the middle of the field after the game is over and invites the opposing team to join them.

“Jared (Coach Moffatt) and I have known each other a long time,” pointed out Cranfill. “Both of us have staffs full of God fearing men that knows who is the most important One out there. At the end of any competition that we have, we always invite the other schools to pray with us.”

Cranfill said that he asked Moffatt if he had a player that wanted to lead in the prayer. “Just as I suspected, he had one kid that immediately volunteered to lead in prayer and he did an amazing job,” emphasized Cranfill. “It was a way of just taking a moment to remember why we do what we do. The two most important things we do in life is to remind ourselves to believe that there is a cause greater than ourselves and to establish relationships. The two teams had just battled for an hour and a half but at the end, we shook each other’s hands and told each other that the nature of what we do is who we do it for.”

Van senior linebacker/running back Michael Daudpota led in prayer. The Tiger head coach said that while there was not a member of his team that led in prayer Friday night at Van, he does have a group of players he can call on at any time to do that.

“I have a group of about 25 players that are very capable of standing up and taking the reins if I need them to do that,” pointed out Cranfill. “What we saw in Van Friday night is a compliment to the parents and the people that live in both Van and Wills Point that they raise these kids to understand the importance of why we do what we do. It is an awesome feeling as a head coach just to be a part of that.”

While Cranfill and Moffatt said that they did not notice the reaction of the people in the stands following the post-scrimmage prayer, they agreed that they hope that their players heard the reaction.

“We can teach these kids how to read and write and we can teach them how to play football, basketball and baseball but the most important lesson that we can teach them is who to love and where love starts,” said Cranfill. “In the society that we live in today, where every act and reaction is held to the fire as to why we do what we do, these are the types of questions that our entire coaching staff in Wills Point likes to answer.”