By Shannon J. Allen/Sand Mountain Reporter
Senior High center Cole Wilson said once you’re a Sardis Lion, you’re always a Lion.
Tonight (Sept. 27), former SHS quarterback and Wounded Warrior Spc. Corey Garmon returns home to Sardis Stadium, where his alma mater is hosting a game in honor of him and the veterans housing organization Housing Our Nation’s Outstanding Returning Soldiers.
Class 3A, No. 9 Geraldine (3-1) provides the opposition for the unbeaten Lions (4-0) in the non-region contest. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Sardis will wear two patches on its uniforms. One will be Garmon’s military identification patch, and the other will be the HONORs patch.
At 6:45, Garmon and the HONORs team will be introduced to the crowd. Garmon will then help with the coin toss.
“I’ve known Corey a while,” Wilson said. “I played with his brother (Kyle), and Coach (Chris) Garmon coached me. It’s going to be real special, and it’s going to be a good honor for him.”
Wilson added it will be extra motivation to “play for somebody that did something for us.”
Sardis senior quarterback Will Scott has known Corey Garmon and his family for years. He’s looking forward to Friday’s game.
“He was a real good quarterback here,” Scott said. “It’s tough for him having to go through with what he did over there, but we’re all proud of him for fighting for us and we’ve got a lot of respect for him.
It’s really special getting to wear something like that on our jerseys to represent him and what he’s done for us.”
Sardis head coach Gene Hill said it’s the first time in his more than 25-year coaching career he’s been a part of a military appreciation game.
“It is one of ours and one that hits home,” Hill said of Garmon. “What they do is life or death … that’s for real. That’s something that’s very serious.
“We take football serious and we want to do the best we can do, and it’s a real serious game to us with all the work we put in it, but really the bottom line is why you play our game is for fun.
“Anytime anybody goes over there and makes that kind of sacrifice, it allows us to do what we do on Friday nights, to be able to play what I think is the greatest game in the world. Anything we can do is just a small thing just to honor him.”
Hill expressed his appreciation to Sherry Gardner, who teaches family and consumer sciences at Sardis High, and her department for sewing the patches on the Lions’ jerseys.
Hill said Geraldine is “by far” the best team Sardis has played this year.
The Bulldogs suffered a 21-13 loss at New Hope last week. Friday’s game is their fourth consecutive road contest.
“We’re going to have our hands full Friday, because they’re going to bring their ‘A’ game, and when they do that, we’re going to have to play as good as we can play to stay on the field with them,” Hill said.
“Geraldine will be one of the most physical teams we’ll play. You can tell their kids have been in the weight room. They’re big and bulked up, and they play really physical football. It’s going to be a challenge for us. I don’t know if we’ve lined up and played against anybody that’s anywhere near as physical as they are.”