In Sept. 3 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Sports Editor
The 40th season of Mighty Laker football is underway and a celebration of that achievement is slated for this Friday, Sept. 4th at 4:30 p.m. for former and current Lakers at the new Russell County Schools Auditorium/Natatorium complex.
"We've had a lot of people sign up and we're expecting a lot more to show up that night," said Donnie Black, a member of the 1969 Laker football team who has been a contact for the 40 year reunion.
The night will then be capped off by the football game against the Somerset Briar Jumpers, a longtime nemesis of the Lakers.
Black, whose son Daniel is a senior offensive lineman on this season's team, said all former players are to meet at the new auditorium/natatorium beginning at 4:30 p.m. to register and then will take time to share old game stories and catch up with one another.
"We're expecting anywhere between 200 and 250 former players," Black said.
Russell County Athletic Director Rita Branscum said it was a pleasure to bring back all of the past Laker players for one night of celebration.
"We're extremely proud to have all of the Lakers back for one night," she said. "It will be a night for them to reminisce about the past and catch a glimpse of the current team."
At 5:31 p.m. a welcome ceremony will begin and a discussion will take place about starting a Mighty Laker football alumni club, according to Black.
He said the football program actually began in 1968 under Coach Ed Wilmouth but there were no varsity games, the reason 1969 is considered the first actual year of the program.
Then at 6:31 p.m., the former Lakers will make their way over to Laker Stadium to form the run through line for the Mighty Lakers as they take the field against Somerset.
Afterward, during the first portion of the football game, former Lakers will go to the baseball side of the football field for a tent barbecue and to watch the game up close.
Branscum said all former football players, coaches and managers are welcome for the festivities.
"This achievement is one that can only be celebrated once," she said. "So we're going to do it right."
Current head football coach Bill Sharp said despite all the festivities and seeing the faces of past Lakers his team must maintain focus as they play the always tough Briar Jumpers on the historic night.