The city's football rivalry between Aiken and South Aiken high schools has taken on several different forms since its 1981 debut.
It's not déjà vu exactly, but Brian Staley's name is in the newspaper quite often these days. Fans at Midland Valley's L.L. Willis Stadium also hear it a lot during games on Friday nights.
It started in September of 1981. Forty-three games later it's still the biggest game of the season in the city. One of the few people to have been on both sides of the Aiken vs. South Aiken football rivalry says it has actually intensified.
Edgefield County doesn't share much in common with North Augusta in many aspects. But they do share several qualities that are the perfect ingredients for a good football rivalry, especially with the strong fan base Strom Thurmond High School's football program has.
It's a rivalry that has created some of the biggest moments in CSRA football. This season's version of the Silver Bluff vs. Barnwell showdown will have a bit of a throwback feel to it.
NORTH AUGUSTA — Standing behind third base surrounded by thousands of Augusta GreenJackets faithful waiting with angst, Jolbert Cabrera looks on as slugger Heliot Ramos attempts to be the game’s savior in extra innings.
Aiken natives Terrell Lockett and Jabreiona Hankinson were greeted and hugged by their trainer James Hankinson the minute the bell rang after each of their USA Boxing Junior Olympic National Championship matches ended.
It was tough to ignore the No. 30 jersey during the Miami Dolphins 2017 season. Spectators saw the jersey deflecting footballs from would-be receivers, blanketing receivers stride for stride and making crucial open-field tackles.
When it comes to football in 'The Valley' area, former Midland Valley head coach Rick Knight has seen just about everything there is to see. He experienced it as a member of the Mustangs' coaching staff, first as an assistant and eventually as the head coach.
Keith Radford found himself hard pressed to think of many Silver Bluff traditions when reflecting on his 20-plus years as an assistant coach for the Bulldogs. Not that there aren't any to think of. It's just that Radford's favorite tradition was pretty simple.
Visiting South Aiken High School's Stomping Grounds has been a no-win situation for opposing football teams over the last couple of years, as the T-Breds have crushed whoever's stepped on their home turf.
They share the same name – Eric Stroman – but nobody on the football field really called either of them Eric. The elder was 'Hollywood,' because he was well known, not only in Aiken but around the state, for his play on the football field in the late 90s. His son – the younger Stroman – he's just 'Stroman' or 'Stro' most times. He's not the flashy type and just goes about his business.
Ironically, it's kind of hard to tell which Stroman has had the bigger impact on the other.
Former Strom Thurmond High head coach Lee Sawyer saw a lot of football during his coaching career, but his decade with the Rebels is special to the now retired coach. That's because the surrounding towns and area surrounding Strom Thurmond High made the tenure unforgettable.
Lugoff-Elgin head football coach Matthew Campbell has his own Wikipedia page, and perhaps it needs to be updated.
When Aiken High takes the field Friday night at Hagood Stadium, its game against Greenwood will be its last non-region tune-up before league play begins in Region 4-AAAA.
It's become a staple of Friday nights in Wagener. Whenever the War Eagles have hosted a football game over the past six years or so, the fans, the players and even some of the visitors have come to expect it.
Fox Creek may have the most brief football history of any of the area schools, but everyone around the program says the Predators and their fans make up for it with sheer passion.
Mark Rodgers' main focus each Friday night is the Wardlaw football team. However, he admits each week he checks up on Ridge Spring-Monetta. It's not surprising, considering out in the Ridge Spring and Monetta areas there's a familiar refrain.
Phil Strickland may be most known for his exploits at Gaffney High School, but long before he was wining championships anywhere else around the state he was building winners both on and off the field at Ridge Spring-Monetta. Strickland's first football head coaching job was with the Trojans.
Williston-Elko head football coach Derek Youngblood heard something Thursday at the Blue Devils' opening ceremony that summed up what football means to a community that shuts down every Friday night during the season.
Williston School District chairperson Ferlecia Cuthbertson, a former Williston-Elko classmate of Youngblood's, commented to him that football is the religion of their community in that that's what brings everyone together.
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