High school football rival teams join for prayer despite restrictions

by Seth Udinski
High school football rival teams join for prayer despite restrictions

Seth Udinski, FISM News


A courageous group of high school football players in Tennessee made a bold stance of Christian faithfulness and unity when they joined together at midfield after their football game on Friday, Sept. 17.

Football players have been praying together at midfield for decades, so at first glance this seems ordinary. But upon further investigation, these young men are facing district-mandated restrictions on prayer. The two schools represented by the football teams, Upperman High School of Baxter and rival Stone Memorial High School of Crossville, issued a statement which prevented staff and faculty from leading prayer of any kind, in what was a blow to the long-standing tradition for the football teams. The statement reads, in part,

We absolutely understand the importance of prayer in the lives of our students, faculty, and staff members…We also understand that faculty and staff members cannot lead or participate in the spontaneous student-led prayers.

After the game, numerous players from both teams gathered at midfield to lead a post-game corporate time of prayer, including any parents, coaches, and teachers who wanted to participate. When the adults were prevented from going before the Lord by state laws, these young believers answered the call and took the lead. The players knelt together, and parents joined with heads bowed.

A fan posted on social media after the game, saying,

Satan’s power was defeated tonight, as the threat of a legal action to forbid prayer after the game was overwhelmed by player-led prayer supported by parents and fans in solidarity on Overall Field. God bless the Baxter and Stone players for their faith and courage.

This group of young men took a stand for Christ, despite the discouragement of those in authority, because of their love for Christ and for one another.