This is a super touching story. On Friday night, Zion Christian Academy was playing Pickett County in their home opener when a fight broke out on the Pickett County sidelines — between members of their own team! James Bennet described the scene in the Columbia Daily Herald:
One of the Pickett County players was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct at the end of the third quarter. When the coaching staff told players to sit on the bench and calm down, it triggered arguments and fights, with nearly every player involved in the fracas, Tennessee Highway Patrol trooper Harvey Briggs told The Daily Herald.
The mother and father of another Pickett County player involved in the altercation came onto the field and started screaming at other players and coaches, Briggs said.
The mother called The Daily Herald on Monday and said she saw one of the coaches hit her son with a helmet. Since neither the Pickett County principal nor superintendent were at the game, she said she decided to confront the coach herself in the heat of the moment.
Parents watched from the stands in horror as white-uniformed football players began to fight. The game was halted, and an off duty Tennessee state trooper named Harvey Briggs ran across the field to try to restore calm. In the middle of what could’ve been a very dangerous situation, the Zion football team knelt down right there on the field to pray. The members of the Pickett County team saw them do this, and came over to their side of the field. They also knelt down and prayed too.
The Head of School Paul Brenner described what happened next:
“Here’s the neat thing about what went on,” Brenner said. “While our guys got themselves in huddle on our side and started to pray. There were a couple of Pickett County guys who were on the field. They ran over to our huddle and knelt down with our guys. Pretty soon, all of the players — every player on the field — was kneeling and praying. I don’t know if officer Briggs sent them to our side or not. But it was the most amazing thing.”
“Being a Christian school, we got to see our kids really make a difference in the lives of everyone in that stadium,” Brenner said. “For them to sit and pray for one of their opponents and for them to welcome heir opponents into their huddle, their prayer group — you don’t see things like that very often.“When it was happening, there was dead silence in the stands. After the mom and player were escorted off, the players stood up from their prayer. Everybody in the stands — Zion families and Pickett County families — were just watching in awe. All they could do was applaud. At Zion Christian, we want everything to be for God’s glory. I truly believe that was an instance when it was the case.”
After this, Zion went on to lose their lead and eventually the game. But check out that photo above and see how the football players wearing different colored uniforms have their arms around each other.
Joette Vick, a parent of one of the Pickett County players (not involved in the fight) wrote this under a blog post written by Brenner.
I would like to convey is the awesomeness of not only Zion’s players but the parents and fans as well. I personally had two very kind people come to me and ask if there was anything they could do for us, water, something to eat….whatever we needed. That is truly the love of Christ working. I personally was horrified, embarrassed and very unhappy with the events to the point I was headed over to our sidelines to pull my son and take him home. A gentleman stopped me and was so kind and non judgmental… Our boys were equally horrified and went to pray with Zion on their own accord…. that was the only thing about the situation that made me proud to be a Bobcat. I would like to offer my sincere and personal thank you to ZAC players, staff, parents and fans. While some of our own showed little to no class, you guys showed the utmost love of Christ, class and compassion.
I think everyone on the field that night won something more important.