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Story and photos by Hayley Leatherwood


he crowd seems miles away for the student athletes lined up on the field. Through the muffled cheers, distant echoes of the band’s rendition of “Seven Nation Army” mirror the eager heartbeats before the snap.


What happens next is a different breed of magic—maybe it’s a tackle, a first down or even a touchdown. In the glow of the Friday night lights in Chickasha, Okla., each play has the potential to be a phenomenon. “It gives me chills just talking about it,” Clayton Mosley, Chickasha full


back and middle linebacker senior says. No matter the play, a group of familiar voices guides the sea of “Fighting


Chicks” players and fans through victory and defeat: George Plummer, Howie Jackson, Jonathan Molder and Dennis Linam. Together, this an- nouncing team makes the action come alive. Watching these four interact is like getting a front row seat at a hometown coffee shop on an early Saturday morning. There’s no shortage of stories, laughter and good-natured teasing. At the center of it all is Plummer, a 25- year veteran of radio broadcasting. Plummer is often referred to as “The Voice of Grady County.” Since the 1980s, fans of all kinds have heard Plummer give his play-by-play report of baseball, basketball, softball, football and even the town’s famous Festival of Lights. According to Plummer, he has the best job in the world. “We’re proud to be a part of the experience,” Plummer says. “I love being a part of the action while it’s happening.” No one gets closer to the action than Molder, a 1999 Chickasha graduate, former football player and on-field reporter. During a long drive, Molder can often be seen running right along the side, commenting all the way. But he says he still loves a strong defensive game, especially when the line “dips, rips and lowers the boom.” “In lean times and successful times, towns put their hopes and dreams in these 16- and 17-year-old young men,” Molder says. “It’s something special that I can look up into the crowd and often see my own high school coach sitting in the stands.” On the opposite end of the spectrum, Linam is rarely seen or heard, but if he didn’t do his job, everyone would know it. Linam handles the technical aspects of streaming the broadcast for two radio stations and one television station. An Army veteran, Linam says he has found a new love for broadcast journalism.


“George took me on and changed me from a hard-nosed military guy to a journalism guy,” Linam says. “It’s so exciting to me that I get the chance to show the emotion of the crowd to those who can’t be at the game.”


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Jackson, color commentator, admits he can get too fired up during a


game, especially when a Fighting Chick breaks away and scores a touchdown.


“It’s amazing to see what it does to the stands, the sidelines and even the kid’s running posture,” Jackson, information specialist at Anadarko, Okla.- based Western Farmers Electric Cooperative says. Although it seems all fun and games, there’s much more to announcing than meets the eye. The group gets to each game early to set up equipment and ensure the event’s sponsors are properly recognized. During the week, they research each upcoming game, and for away games, they could be traveling back until the wee hours of the morning.


As a general rule, the announcers try to be generic about their call and keep a conversational style. Of the four, not one of them relies on a signature catch phrase. Instead, they try to paint a realistic picture of the action. The team especially works hard to be ready for the unscripted events, like an injury on the field.


“It doesn’t matter what team they’re on,” Jackson says. “That’s when you’re not thinking about calling for plays, you’re praying for that young man and his family. “ Jackson says he reviews his broadcasts and will keep a notebook to write


down his most-used phrases and try to come up with new words the next game. Molder says his toughest critics are often the youngest fans. “My kids will come up to me after the game and say, ‘Dad, you said ‘um’


a lot,” Molder says with a laugh. For all generations, the announcers agree technology has only made the experience better. With Linam’s efforts, fans can watch and listen to the game from their cell phones. While fans are tuning in by the droves, many wouldn’t guess these well- versed announcers still get the jitters. Always humble, they are thinking of the coaches and the players and hoping all their hard work pays off with a win.


“Football is the ultimate team concept,” Jake Womack, quarterback and middle linebacker says. “Our announcers are the same way. They always work hard and it feels good they know our names and numbers.” Just like the players, the reporting team celebrates a good night and cre- ates a fine balance between their individual assignments and their group effort. But most importantly, when they step into the press box, they always put their game face on.


Chickasha “Fighting Chicks” JUNE 2016 27


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