MONETTA — The Ridge Spring-Monetta football team's recent win over Williston-Elko inspired memories of 2006.
That had been the last time the Trojans scored a victory over the Blue Devils. More importantly, that season produced some new scoreboard signage at Walter J. Davis Field.
To the right of the scoreboard is a list of region championships wide enough to fit three years on a row, and the year 2006 sits alone on the third row.
Underneath is a sign commemorating their 2006 Class A, Division II Upper State championship.
The 2018 Trojans want to add their own input to those signs after near-misses in both region and Upper State championship situations.
For guidance, all they need to do is look toward their own sideline. Their offensive coordinator, DeVonne Quattlebaum, was the 2006 team's quarterback and defensive back. His senior season was among the best in school history – the Class A coaches named him All-State and Co-Defensive Player of the Year, and he was selected to the North-South game.
"I remember the Ridge Spring game because they had a quarterback that we just couldn't catch," said RS-M head coach Kenny Lipsey, who in 2006 was a first-year assistant coach under Paris Mason at Williston-Elko. "I didn't know that, 10 years later, we'd be reunited and he'd be a part of the staff that I assembled here and be my offensive coordinator. He does a good job. That was just an eye-opening experience coming over here and playing that year."
The Trojans won 27-0 that night in mid-September, and it was the second of five shutout victories that season. Quattlebaum passed for the first touchdown of the game, which boosted the Trojans' record to 3-1. They lost the following week to Pelion before going on an eight-game winning streak that carried the self-titled "best little high school in South Carolina" into the state championship game.
Quattlebaum's favorite game was Upper State title game against Jonesville, a game the Trojans hosted with a chance at history – a third scoreboard sign at RS-M, on the far right, lists the 1945 Monetta High state championship team as the only one in school history.
Needless to say, the home crowd was excited for it.
"There was so many people here," Quattlebaum said. "It was kind of overwhelming, because we've never seen this many people to come support a football game. It was so overwhelming, but everybody was ready to play. It was exciting."
Quattlebaum accounted for four total touchdowns, and Cody Young rushed for 190 yards on 17 carries in the Trojans' 34-12 win. It was a different offense back then in a different era – Quattlebaum commanded a grind-it-out offense then, but he said he'd like his odds in the current era of spread offenses.
"The things that we do now with this offense, I wish we could have done back when we were playing," he said. "The same kind of kids, the same kind of athletes that we have now, I think we had them back then."
Some other things are the same as they were back then. Quattlebaum recalls the team's pregame walk around the stadium that concluded with a good-luck rub of the rock in memory of the late Buford McGee. The team still does, though now with the added flair of a police escort.
"That's a tradition that will probably stand forever, as long as Ridge Spring-Monetta football will be held here," Quattlebaum said.
The 2006 season ended without a state championship – the Trojans fell to Lake View in Orangeburg at S.C. State – but it remains the farthest the football program has made it since that 1945 Monetta team.
The current group made it to the Upper State title game twice in a three-year span, but each ended the same way – with a loss at Lamar. So the signs at the stadium still serve as a reminder of the hump they're trying to get over.
"They're reminded every day," Lipsey said. "And it's a good thing that somebody that's on our staff was a part of that and it's not just coming from me, an outsider that didn't live it. It's coming from somebody that actually lived those games and knows what it takes to get to the state championship game."