Williston-Elko's trip up to Ware Shoals a decade ago inspired what has become one of the area's best football traditions.

That Friday night, the Blue Devils were the visitors in the Class A Upper State championship game against a Ware Shoals team that was rolling after a slow start to the season.

The Hornets entered the field from what they called their train station, a large building behind the end zone with a ramp coming down and zig-zagging around. With the players came the blaring of a variety of train horns situated around the ramp.

That caught Hal Mundy's attention. 

"It's the neatest high school, college entrance I had ever seen," he said. "So from that time, I wanted to blow a train horn at the football games because that just inspired me, you know, the way it was."

The train horn has been part of Williston-Elko football ever since. Mundy went online and learned how to build his first one, which lasted for two seasons before he purchased one.

The Blue Devils won 40-32 that Friday night to advance to their first of three consecutive state championship games, including a title win in 2009. That year, the Blue Devils were paid a return visit by Ware Shoals and handed the Hornets another defeat.

At first, the horn only made appearances at home games because Mundy had a big tank in the back of his truck that he would hook up to the horn at the top of the home bleachers. Now it's got air tanks like firefighters use, making it much more portable.

And it has made its fair share of road trips.

Maybe the most notable was a trip to Christ Church for a playoff game in 2013. The Blue Devils had made a visit in 2011 for the Upper State final and lost 20-17, and they were back for another crack at the Cavaliers' mini-dynasty.

Christ Church was ready, and not just for the Blue Devils. Mundy was approached by Christ Church's athletic director, accompanied by a police officer, early in the game and was told not to blow the horn anymore. The Blue Devils fans in attendance egged on Mundy to do it anyway, but he was told he'd be taken to jail if he did it.

Other schools – Fox Creek and Barnwell – have objected to its use, although in a much friendlier fashion, and Mundy has respected their requests.

"I guess they're scared they can't beat the horn," he joked. "They're worried about beating the horn and the football team, you know?" 

He was laughing, but maybe that has been a genuine concern – at least at Christ Church.

Mundy's son Dalton quarterbacked the Blue Devils from 2011 to 2013 and made both of those trips up to Greenville. Dalton, now a senior at the University of South Carolina, actually had a classmate who played for the Cavaliers in those games, and he told Dalton the team would practice all week with a train horn blowing in practice to prepare for it.

Mundy estimated that the excitement for the train horn has faded a little, but the seniors still get into it. And he's hinted that he's going to hand it off to someone else, but players have insisted that he has to keep doing it.

"There would be times when I would see a kid score a touchdown," he said. "And you know how a kid does on the side of the road for a Mack truck, you know, they pump their fist up and down? They've done that wanting me to blow the horn."

Dalton's about to graduate from USC and is student-coaching at Gray Collegiate Academy in West Columbia, so Hal's arranged to make the trip up there for the Thursday night junior varsity games before coming back to Williston for the Blue Devils' games the following night.

Where Dalton ends up as a coach could influence the train horn's future, but a much longer Williston-Elko football tradition dictates that next year could be a big one for the Blue Devils.

The 2009 state championship was the latest in a 10-year tradition at Williston-Elko. The 1999 team played for a title but lost, and the Blue Devils won it all in 1969 and 1979 (and '80, for good measure).

The 1989 team may have been the best of them all, earning a No. 1 ranking and shutting out the first seven opponents of the season. The Blue Devils, known as the "Blue Bullies", went 11-0 in the regular season behind the rushing of Frankie Sanders and a defense that included All-Region and All-County linebacker Hal Mundy, who also kicked, punted and played offensive guard – he teases the kids now when they ask to come off the field.

They blew out McBee in the first round of the playoffs before being forced to hit the road for a second-round game at Jonesville High in the Union County area. They lost that game by a point, the only missing piece in four decades of that 10-year tradition.

They could add to it next year, though, giving the players all the more reason to want the train horn tradition to continue for at least one more season.

Kyle Dawson covers sports for the Aiken Standard. Follow him on Twitter @ItsKyleDawson.