43-18-1. That’s the series record between Spartanburg and Dorman. It Seems kind of lopsided on paper and maybe in actually it is. I have never sat through a Friday Night where these teams have met and didn’t worry to some extent. 14 of the Dorman victories over Spartanburg have come since the arrival of Coach David Gutshall. The thing about this rivalry is that you truly never know whats going to happen. Spartanburg has won 4 in a row and 5 out of the last 7. There are numerous comebacks, game winning drives, game saving plays that have often brought about the final score in this series. You will get a lot of those stories, info and smack talk this week around the water cooler at work. Social Media will be set ablaze and somewhere a kid will be caught up in something that he didn’t even know he was in.
So that leads me to this part of my Trilogy(all of a sudden I’m composing a Trilogy like I was in RUSH)..The Kids.The Young men and women who make this week so special. From Cheerleaders like Destiny Shippy from Spartanburg to Brie Worthy from Dorman. These young women give their all during “Spirit Week” , not to mention the schedule and practice hours their respective squads put in through the school year.
Destiny(pictured below) explained to me about the weeks ongoing activities,” we don’t really have a spirit week this year. We are just having activities at lunch to raise money for Relay for Life and to bring awareness to Cancer.”
Coach Floyd has done a fantastic job with Spartanburgs Cheer Team. The Vikings Cheer remaining schedule is
10/14 @ Hillcrest
10/25 @ Dorman
11/4 in Columbia
Dorman Cheerleader(below) Brie Worthy was kind enough to do the same,”This week we are getting ready for the Friday game at Spartan High! We have themes for everyday. Monday-College Day Tuesday-Prep Day Wednesday-Pink Out Thursday-Throwback Friday-Farmers Day We are having our big Farmers Day pep rally Friday! We are just going to be getting ready for the big rival game Friday Night. We are trying to get all students involved this week and getting them to be there Friday night @ 7:30! The cheerleaders are preparing for Friday by helping with the pep rally and really getting the students involved! Friday is a big day for everybody and we are all more than ready for it!! Go Cavs!!!”
A collective thank you should be sent to all these young ladies who put forth the time and energy during the school year, not to mention rivalry week.
Now on to the players..some from the past, present and future.
Mike Wannamaker, one of Spartanburgs four featured Running Backs is excited to be part of this game on the Varsity level,”The up coming game is very big for me and my brothers knowing that a lot of people don’t believe that we can do it, there is most definitely there’s a lot of excitement and motivation in the locker room this week”. Wannamaker is the son of former Viking Running Back Mike Wannamaker who went 3-1 against Dorman in his 4,321 yard career,”It feels good to see my son play his 1st game against the cross town rivals and I know they remember that name Wannamaker.I just hope he adds a little more to that name and this rivalry.”
Shrine Bowl selection and Vikings outstanding Line Backer Connor Shugart knows this may be the last time he gets to play in this rivalry, “I’m feeling good, we are really coming together, and getting to play Dorman this week…. I just can’t wait.
It does come with some emotions though, this is the game everyone at school and around here waits for and it just means a lot for us and the community. It may be the last time I get to play Dorman, I want it to be special for my team and our fans.This is always such an exciting game all around.” When I asked Connor about the recent Shrine Bowl selection he said,”Making the Shrine Bowl it’s just such a blessing. I thank God for all the talent he has given to me and the positions he has placed me in. Also my teammates and coaches for always pushing me to be the best I can. It’s an honor to be selected but I’m focused on my team right now! I Can’t wait to see what happens this Friday.”
If for some reason you thought this game was lost on the folks down in Roebuck, you are sadly mistaken. “This game means everything to me and my teammates,” said Dorman standout Zack Hillstock Jr. “Our Campus loves it, we have something to do everyday of the week leading up to Friday! It’s rivalry week!”
Dorman is good, make no mistake about it.They are huge up front,disciplined and Have great Coaches. They are led by Dual Threat Daniel transfer Ben Batson who has thrown for 1042 yards, 5 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. He is averaging 149 yards per game through the air and has rushed for 556 yards and 6 touchdowns resulting in a 74 yards per game average.
Former Viking Defensive Back and Current Western Carolina player Mike Murphy had this to say about this game,”The respect is earn and not given for this game, I feel this is the game that really shows who runs the city for a years worth of bragging rights”
Damyjai Foster who can score basically every time he touches the ball told me what it means to him,”the bye week was nothing new for us we do what we do best and that is work.”Foster continued,” some teams take time off and relax that week but not us. I believe the bye did catch us on a good week. We got a week to celebrate the win against Byrnes but also get back our mental focus.” As far as this potentially being his last game in this battle he said,”no, it doesn’t add anything special to me. We do what we do best and that’s burn the ships and so it is the Vikings Way.” He also added what he sees as the intangible,”the best thing about playing in games like this is both teams competing and also the community coming out to support both teams,that is what matters”
Fosters thoughts were echoed by fellow teammate and bruising Linebacker/Safety Thompson Rudolph.
“The bye week was definitely nice. It gave me a little bit of time to relax and take some personal time rather than having to prepare for a big game. He continued,”Even though we cut down a little on some practice time, we still were locked in the entire week. Coach Miller constantly reminded us that it is crucial to stay focused and have a great week of practice when no one is watching, which kept practices upbeat and kept everyone on the right track. Regarding the Dorman game the coaches have just stressed that it’s just another football game. Everyone knows that the atmosphere will be electric and this game will mean a little more, however we have to continue to stay focused, block out distractions, and just play the game the way we play it.”
Spartanburg Wide Out Romain Kelly spoke of the rivalry in these words,”I’m always ready for war and it’s my job to do my part at practice so I can prepare the defense for Friday night.”
Kelly continued,” We are facing a team that we have beating for four years straight but they are 1-0 in the region just like us so we can’t take them lightly we just got keep the streak going by winning this game and moving on to our next opponent. Our goal has not changed.We want to win this region.”
So have you, the reader got a grasp on it yet?? This game is kind of a big deal around this state and especially in Spartanburg County. Forget the bragging rights and all that comes along with Victory or Loss. This game will impact the playoffs, but that is another story all on it’s on.
Spartanburg Quarterback Keonte Cartledge kind of broke it down in the simplest of terms,”I feel great … I feel like this past week I have prepared myself well … I still got somethings to clean up but other than that I am very confident and our team is confident.”
Cartledge summed up his take on this game,” This is my first game against Dorman and it is big time game. We currently have a winning streak against them and I want to keep it going. The main thing is for us as a team is to make sure we take it one week at a time, one game at a time.”
This battle used to reward the victor with The Victory Bell. Players,Coaches,Cheerleaders would walk to the other side of the field to claim it or parade it if they were repeat winners.
I, like many Viking Fans want The Victory Bell to come back. Win or lose you just can’t kill tradition. The Victory Bell just vanished? Maybe if it is gone forever..we need a new trophy for this game. How about THE VICTORY SWORD?
If for no other reason..the kids from both schools deserve it.