By James Beaty
HARTSHORNE — Fans, friends and families of the Hartshorne Miners ringed the football field Thursday night, joined hands and prayed for the community to come together with a safe season for Hartshorne Public Schools’ sports teams.
A crowd estimated at more than 400 participated in the gathering, dubbed Thursday Night Lights, held for the second year prior to the Hartshorne Miners’ first regular high school football game of the season
Led by Hartshorne First Assembly of God Youth Pastor Dustin Grammar and Pastor Scott Horstman, those present surrounded the members of the Miners sports teams on the field, ranging from the Little Miners to the high school gridiron squad.
During the evening, Grammar said if everyone pulls together, “We can create a masterpiece together.”
“We’re all pieces of that masterpiece,” Grammar said. “We can all be part of something that’s beautiful. Like Pastor Scott said, this is bigger than football.”’
“We’re going to be linked together. I want to challenge the football team; I want to challenge the community. Let’s put our differences aside.”
As the 400-plus individuals surrounding Butler-Jennings field joined hands, Horstman addressed the Miners in the center.
“Football players, look how this community has formed a ring around you to let you know we’ve ‘got your back.’”
Horstman and Grammar then unfurled a banner reading “One Heartbeat,” with a quote from Ezekiel 11:19 “And I will give them one heart.”
Hartshorne Miners Coach Bill Williams also briefly addressed the faithful.
“Anything we do, we do together,” he said.
Following the ceremony, Grammar strapped on an acoustic guitar. Joined by drummer Brendon Bray and bass guitarist Kendall McAlester, the trio played a set of contemporary Christian music.
HHS graduate Christopher Cantrell joined others in sticking around for the music, along with soft drinks and cookies.
“I love it,” he said of Thursday Night Lights. “It brought all of Hartshorne together as one.”
HHS Superintendent Mark Ichord said Thursday Night Lights “is a good program. It’s good for the kids. It helps bring the community together. It’s good, safe, clean fun.”
Ron Cunningham, who is a deacon at the Hartshorne First Assembly of God Church, served as the “Voice of the Miners” from 1972-2008, when he announced the Miners’ football games.
“I think this is one of the best things we’ve ever had in Hartshorne,” Cunningham said. “Apparently, 400 or so other folks think the same thing.”
Contact James Beaty at email@example.com.