Instant classics being made at local games
When I started this column, I had planned out the first couple and the things I wanted to touch on. Originally, this week was supposed to be about a common question I’m asked – where I’m from. However, this week I was far too inspired, so we will have to push that back a week.
I’ll forewarn you that this column is going to be about football. My background as someone who worked on sports desks and as a sports reporter is sometimes a bit overpowering.
Two weeks ago, I saw one of the most passionate games I’ve seen in my years of covering high school football. It was Fox Creek’s home opener, and it was against their rival – a team they had never beat – Augusta Christian. It also happened to be the school from which head coach Russ Schneider graduated. Honestly, I didn’t know if any game would top it the rest of the year.
Then the Predators won a double overtime thriller against Ridge Spring-Monetta. It was a back-and-forth affair that could have gone on all night if not for a missed extra point by the Trojans.
However, the game that has had me talking all year and has been the talk of the town, was what happened on Friday night. North Augusta and Strom Thurmond are easily the top two teams in our area. In fact, I don’t even know if it’s close between them and the rest of the teams. Truthfully, I didn’t know if the game would live up to the hype – it was a classic case of a Class AAAA team against a Class AAA team (also a team that is set to move down to Class AA).
As they say, however, that’s why they play the game.
I won’t provide a recap of the game here; just head on over to the sports page for the excellent article written by Noah Feit. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to actually enjoy a game – rather than fumbling through my phone to tweet live updates and send out texts, jotting down plays and yardage and also trying to get pictures while not getting ran over on the sidelines.
Perched in the press box, it was really a sight to see the support for both teams. More than 7,000 people showed up to see the game – a number that makes my head spin for a high school game.
What’s a shame about all of this, however, is that the points system will prevent us from seeing this game on a year-in, year-out basis. I’ll never understand how the system works – I think you have to go take specialized classes for that sort of thing – but I do know why it’s in place and understand why it’s necessary. It’s just unfortunate in a case like this, where two communities are so passionate and love this matchup so dearly, that we probably won’t see it again for a very, very long time.
That said, no matter which of the local high schools you root for, this is shaping up to be a special year for both North Augusta and Fox Creek football. Both teams have shown promise early on and are capable of making deep runs in the playoffs. I know I get on my soapbox so often for the athletics around here, but, short of going around door-to-door here in North Augusta and begging, putting this article in the paper is the best I can do.
I hear from boosters and those in the athletic departments how costly it is to give these student athletes opportunities. I’ve spoken before about how football can be the figurative bus that helps every other sport with its funding.
So here’s a challenge, and this applies to both schools: Let’s fill the stands and support these teams every week. Let’s make sure that we are louder than the visitors side and be the 12th man in those pivotal moments. Let’s make the Jackets Nest and Lions Field the two places that teams dread coming into, knowing that they not only have to beat the players on the field, but the fans in the seats, as well.
We could have something special brewing if Thursday and Friday night are any indication – don’t miss out on it.