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Natchez First Baptist hosts local teams

NATCHEZ — It was too good an opportunity to pass up, especially since it was teenagers.

Jason Cook, who played fullback for Ole Miss from 2004 to 2008, was a guest speaker at Natchez First Baptist Sunday morning, and he entertained an audience in whose shoes he was once in.

Players from the Adams County Christian School, Cathedral High School, Natchez High School and Trinity Episcopal Day School football teams listened as Cook spoke at the church’s annual Football Sunday program. Cook spoke on the redemption power of Jesus Christ as it relates to mankind’s sins.

“Humans inevitably assign worth to good things, but we make them ultimate things that usurp where God should be (in their lives),” Cook said.

“It’s easy in the South to make football an ultimate thing. We want them to recognize Jesus as the ultimate thing, not just a good guy.”

In addition to preaching the gospel, there was the added desire to impact young athletes that drew Cook to Natchez, he said.

“I see where I was (at their age) and wish someone would have told me this when I was 15 and 16 years old,” Cook said.

Cathedral senior offensive lineman Dakota Vaughan said he took to heart the message Cook preached, and that it was something he and his teammates needed to hear.

“Football players are a little more lenient on sinning,” Vaughan said. “We’re more reckless, I would say. It’s important for us to hear that we should strive to be one with God.”

Trinity lineman Sky Logan said he was happy for all of the local teams to come together and learn about God and sports, especially since there was a former college athlete as a guest speaker.

“Everyone looks up to the guy who played in college and the pros, and we’ll listen more because they did,” Logan said.

NHS head coach Lance Reed said while it wasn’t mandatory for his players to attend the service, he was glad almost all of his squad chose to show up.

“We have to watch the line of separation of church and state being a public school, but we try to instill in the guys the importance of faith,” Reed said.

“We’re coaching young men in pivotal stages in their life, and we’re interested in developing the whole person. Football will be over one day, and they’ll have their whole lives ahead of them.”

The program was divided into two services. Cook spoke at 9:30 a.m., and Petal High School head coach Marcus Boyles spoke at 10:30 a.m. The athletes, coaches and cheerleaders in attendance were treated to hamburgers following the service.

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