Longevity and loyalty are two qualities that deserve to be honored, and on Friday night, Jerry Lyall received special recognition for his long-time service to the Cassville Wildcat football program. Before the start of the Cassville-Monett game, Lyall was presented with a special plaque for all the years he has filmed Wildcat football games.
Friday night's home football game against Monett marked the 260th game Lyall has filmed over a span of 24 years. He has announced he will retire from his filming duties at the end of the 2010 season.
"Jerry has been a big asset and a very close friend since the day I moved to Cassville," said Cassville Head Football Coach David Large. "The fans don't see everything he actually does for our football program. Besides filming, he also drives the truck and equipment trailer to away games."
Lyall also makes himself available in the summer to drive the trailer to Liberty for football camp.
In his role as the Cassville R-4 School District's director of maintenance, Lyall is also in charge of taking care of the game and practice fields.
"When we need something fixed Jerry is always there to take care of it," said Coach Large. "Filming is just one of the many things he does for our program."
Lyall is beginning his 25th year of employment with Cassville Schools. He said he took the job of filming football games when Joe Cavness was football coach.
"The second year I was at Cassville, they needed someone to film and I said that I'd try it out," said Lyall. "I kept doing it because I like to watch football and I like to help out."
The demands of standing up during the game and climbing up and down from press boxes have become a little taxing for Lyall in recent years.
"I just physically can't do it anymore; old age has caught up to me," said Lyall. "I will keep going to the games. I haven't missed one for 24 years."
According to Lyall, there is not one single game that stands out as more memorable than any other.
"I've enjoyed them all."
Lyall said Friday's night recognition was very special to him.
"It meant a lot to me," said Lyall. "I really appreciate it a lot."
Finding a replacement for Lyall won't be easy.
"Guys like Jerry Lyall don't come along very often," added Coach Large. "We love him, and he will be missed in our football program."