Spartanburg at Byrnes: Would You Rather Be In Odessa?

3,092 yards. That’s the number that Former Viking Rodney Harris put on the history books in the late 1990’s. “Yes, I still love Them Vikings, but I love my babies even more.” That quote from the Blue & Gold Legend just about says it all. “I have two boys out there on Friday nights.”

Byrnes Defensive Back #8 Rodney Harris Jr and Running Back #47 Rahjai Harris are both his sons and the elder Harris couldn’t be prouder. “It’s amazingly special to see both of my young men playing against a team I once played for and still do support,” Harris said. “I don’t have any mixed emotions. I’m always gonna root for my boys and support them by any means that I can. I tell Rahjai all the time that he is a better running back than me.”


Rahjai echoed his fathers words when I asked him about being the son of a rivals historic player,” Yes ,It’s a lot of motivation to the whole school not just myself. I try my hardest to play harder than him every touch of the ball.” I could also hear the “family” in Rahjai and his words,”I just want to make my family proud. I look up to coaches & players that have already reached the goals that we want to reach as an individual and as a team.”


Rodney Harris,Jr who is making quite the name for himself as a shutdown corner will look to slow down the Viking playmakers such as Romain Kelly, Tommy Washington and Moe Wedman.

This Friday Night at Nixon Field somewhere in the neighborhood of 10,000 fans will pack into the stands.

They will stand along the grass hills that roll the stadium border.Some will be in Blue & Grey, some in Blue & Gold. The Spartanburg Students and Fans will be wearing all Black as to be a part of a “blackout” theme, while the Nixon Nuts and Rebel Fans will sport Pink & Gold as part of their theme of bringing awareness to Pediatric and Breast Cancer. …It all makes for a “colorful evening”.

An evening that is already set up to be exciting before the Game even starts. The Rebels are 5-0 and ranked 2nd in the state according to MaxPreps. They are averaging 170 yards passing and 164 yards rushing per game. Balanced to say the least. Byrnes is scoring right at 31 points per game. The Strikeforce Defense has only allowed 6 touchdowns through 5 games and 3 of those were to New Jersey Power Don Bosco Prep.

Spartanburg’s Fast Raid offense is producing about 230 yards through the air and 169 on the ground. Balanced, considering the fiasco that surrounded the Vikings first two games. Spartanburg will roll into Duncan on a 4 game win streak and a 34 point per game average. The Vikings defense is allowing about 14 points per game during this current win streak.


I spoke with Byrnes Student Reporter Micheal Covil. He told me of the atmosphere around the hallways of James F. Byrnes, “It’s exciting. Coming off a bye week things are not mellow, by the end of the week we will be even more excited. It’s always exciting to open region play and to play a big rival, especially at home.” Covil continued,”There is renewed passion in the program this year. We feel like we have our mojo back. Our class of 2018 is good, and we know it. We as a school and a community are out to prove ourselves this year. We know it’s still early in the season and we have to show up on Friday nights.” When I asked Micheal about a deciding factor in this Fridays game he responded, “I’d have to say offense. Will our offense be able to do enough to get the job done? They can’t be flat like they were last season. We have to come out ready to roll from kickoff.”


Spartanburg Outside Linebacker Jay Rice said, “This is probably the most excited I’ve been for a game, I can’t wait for Friday, the stadium is gonna be packed, it is going to be a great night.”

Vikings Running Back Zykamren Robinson is ready for Friday Night, “I can’t even put into words how excited I am. I just know we are ready to play.”

Defensive specialist Reggie Anderson said,” I’m very excited about this Friday.The Region play is starting.It is so important for us to get into a rhythm on both sides of the ball.”

Spartanburg Defensive Lineman Joshua “Chicago” Villegas said,”I’m very excited, everything we’ve done over the summer until this point was to prepare for region games.”

chicagoJoshua continued, “There is a lot hype for the game Friday night, Byrnes has had a pretty good start to their season and we’ve had a slow start but we have come back strong. I’m looking forward to the game. It’s a true Friday Nights Battle.”

So the groundwork has been laid by both teams. Byrnes and Spartanburg both have arrived to the same starting point. We both are ready to start region play after different routes through the non region schedule.

This Friday Night will be a deciding Friday Night. It may not crown the region champion but whomever wins will surely set themself up really well to accomplish that in a few weeks…and who ever comes up short will still have time to position themselves as well as they can. There is plenty of football left to play and every week will be a big game.


The aforementioned former Viking and current Rebel father Rodney Harris hit the nail on the head with his take on the game. “It’s two great programs and two exceptionally great coaches.” He went on to say, “I think it’s going to come down to which staff out coaches the other.”


I thought about that. Sure there are the on the field factors that will ultimately decide the victor but…whichever coaching staff has better prepared the team for the situations that arise friday night will more than likely win. I guess it’s another one of those things that make football so great, just because you are better than someone this coming Friday Night doesn’t mean you will be better than someone next Friday Night…and that is something that our entire region and state can be proud of..South Carolina High School Football is great. Everywhere around our state will be battle ready come Friday Night.

I think of the history of each of our programs. I see where ESPN is doing a story about Valdosta Georgia Football. I always hear about Texas,Florida,Ohio,etc..and I know we have those stories here.Our football is great.

I used to think South Carolina needed the nation’s respect for our High School Football.

I still feel jaded to a degree but through the years I realized something.. Our Respect is ultimately determined by ourselves. It is determined by what stories we write about ourselves. The quality of product we put on the field statewide every week I’ll stand behind until the very end.


I’ve seen Remember The Titans..I’ve seen Friday Night Lights..Both are great teams and movies. But I’m willing to bet a paycheck there won’t be Byrnes or Spartanburg player, coach or fan that would rather be in Odessa, Texas this Friday Night.

There are plenty of Lights right here in the upstate and last time I checked my calender…every 52 Fridays, we get 52 new fridays…never ending Fridays around these parts and we don’t have to brag about quarterfinals.

plus I’d like to think theres a man repairing an old rusted out state championship sign on some deserted Texas Highway thinking to himself, “I sure wish I was in South Carolina this Friday.”





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