And here’s to all who light lights of Fridays

Published 12:16 am Sunday, August 14, 2011

At any given time Friday night, 22 young men will be running, sweating and tackling their way through the first week of high school football. The quarterback and star running back likely will get the headlines in the morning paper.

Often overlooked, though, are the number of people that go into each Friday night production. It’s those people, the ones who never get headlines, who deserve a preseason pat on the back.

Friday night at Warren Central, fans from two local high schools and two Rankin County schools will clog parking lots and turn Mississippi 27 into a traffic mess.

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Here’s to Warren County Deputies — Vicksburg Police for Vicksburg High home games — will make sense of chaos, standing in full uniform filling every available parking space and piece of free earth. Mississippi 27 will be jammed with vehicles, but order will be kept.

Here’s to the most unwanted job of them all — concession stand workers. Temperatures are expected to be in the upper 90s and nothing could be worse than standing over steamed hot dogs and popping corn while in a concrete bunker.

Here’s to the chain crew.

Here’s to the band, from the truck driver hauling equipment to road games to the youngest tuba player. Few things scream Southern high school football more than the halftime band performances.

Here’s to the maintenance crew to keep the lights shining, and the grass cut. Here’s to those who line the field and paint the end zone. Here’s to the public address announcer, the voice from above. Here’s to the scoreboard operator and statistician.

Here’s to the teachers and administrators who keep law and order to ensure a good time had by all. Here’s to the coaches, who also get paid to be there but it’s a pittance if compared to the hours put in.

Here’s to the team managers and water boys who do a thankless, yet important, job. Here’s to the athletic trainers.

Here’s to a return to winning football in this county. It’s been a rough sled the last decade or so, but hope springs eternal.

And here’s to everyone not mentioned above who, each Friday night for three months, give up their first night of the weekend to keep the tradition of Friday Night Lights strong for another year.

The 22 on the field will get the most notice.

The ones who make it all come together deserve the thanks.

Sean P. Murphy is web editor. He can be reached at smurphy@vicksburgpost.com