GRANITEVILLE — Super Bowl LIII won't kick off until Sunday, and Atlanta, where the Los Angeles Rams will take on the New England Patriots, is 150 miles away.

But students at Aiken Technical College started their own Super Bowl Fun Day party early – and closer to home – Thursday afternoon. ATC's Office of Recruitment and Student Experience sponsored the event.

“The goal of our office is to offer students activities outside of class that will complement their experience here and connect them more to the world, creating an extension of their lives here,” said Melissa Johnson, the office's director. “We do scholarly things, too, but we like our students to have a little fun.”

The South Aiken High School Drumline started the half-time fun with their rhythmic beats that set the tone for the event. Playing encore after encore, the drummers had the students, who packed the Student Activities Center, cheering and calling for more.

Students also showed off their athletic talent during a cornhole challenge and played miniature foosball and pool.

And a Super Bowl party wouldn't be a super party without tailgate food, with students snacking on pizza and chicken wings.

Students and staff came decked out in their best fan gear, too, but neither the Rams nor the Patriots received any local love. Judging by the T-shirts and hoodies in the crowd, the Atlanta Falcons and Pittsburgh Steelers scored the most support.

Kyle Perry, a general studies major, wore one of those Steelers hoodies.

Aiken Technical College Super Bowl Party 2019 DSC_3831

Students, faculty and staff celebrated Super Bowl Fun Day 2019 on Thursday by supporting their favorite NFL football teams. Pictured, from left, are Melissa Johnson and Kelly Lynne for the Atlanta Falcons, Nathan Shipman for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Naomi Thomas and Kyle Perry for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“I'm a Steelers fan because I believe that they're the best team ever in the world – that's obvious,” said Perry, who plans to transfer to Francis Marion University and wants to be a music producer and audio engineer. “I like music. That's my passion.”

He also thinks the Patriots will win Sunday night.

“I really don't think – I know they will come out on top,” Perry said. “For me, it's the Patriots all day. I believe they're going to bring it home.”

Super Bowl LIII will kick off at 6:30 p.m. Sunday in Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

Larry Wood covers education for the Aiken Standard.

A native of Aiken, Larry Wood covers education for the Aiken Standard.