As the 2020 Christmas season has approached, I have to admit I have not been in the Christmas spirit. Due to the issues caused by COVID-19 and all that the pandemic has done to our beloved community, I just could not get into the cheery spirit this time of year brings.

Until Friday night.

Pierce County Bear fans all received an early Christmas present. Not only did the Bears advance to the state championship by defeating the Crisp County Cougars, but the thrilling way in which we won will be remembered for years to come.

The play I am going to try to describe has been dubbed by longtime play-by-play announcer for the Bears’ John Dupont as ‘The Miracle at Bearville’.

With the clock inching closer and closer to the end of the fourth quarter and the Cougars protecting a precious one point lead, the Bears’ defense pulled off one of the most dramatic and amazing defensive plays I have ever seen. Ty Little burst through the Cougar offensive line and tackled the ball carrier causing a fumble. Austin Jernigan scooped up the fumbled ball and returned it 69 yards, avoiding several would be tacklers, for a touchdown.

The two point attempt by the Bears was no good though, leaving the Bears with an 18-13 lead. But, the Bears made another outstanding defensive play soon after. John Manghir caused a fumble which was recovered by DJ Bell in the end zone to make the final score, following the extra point by Robert Jacobs, 25-13.

I commend Head Coach Ryan Herring, all the assistant coaches, the student athletes and all others involved in the program for the way they represented Pierce County, not only Friday night, but throughout the entire season. We are proud of you and we look forward to cheering you on, December 30, in Atlanta as you compete for the AAA State Championship. GO BEARS!

True Reason for the Season

Now, I’ll continue a family tradition my grandfather, Max, began decades ago and retell the Christmas story from Luke 2:1-20.

1 And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. 3 So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city. 4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. 6 So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 14 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” 15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them. (NKJV)

Keep the focus on Jesus and share His love to those around us this Christmas season. On behalf of the staff of The Blackshear Times we wish you a Merry Christmas!

•Matt Gardner is the Publisher of The Blackshear Times. Email him at mgardner@blacksheartimes.news.