Story by Stephen Wise, Photo by GoFlashWin
Although it may not carry any playoff implications, Friday’s game against Irmo is one every player and student has circled on the schedule. The games between the two teams have not been close in recent years, and the football team is looking to continue that streak.
“I’ve had the same attitude the last four years. We’re the superior team over them, and we’re gonna stay like that,” senior Elijah Fulmore said, “It’s a competitive game, but I’m not really worried about what they bring.”
That superiority has been backed up for the last three years, leading people to question the legitimacy of the rivalry. Some believe that Fort Dorchester or Spring Valley are the true rivals, as games between Dutch Fork and those teams have much greater importance in the playoff games or state championship hunt.
“Fort Dorchester is probably our main rival because they’re our best competition. Whoever wins that game goes to State most of the time,” sophomore Lauren Beatson said.
Tradition is what makes any rivalry interesting, and having years of history and competition adds to the culture of a school and student body. “I think that the tradition is the best part of it because everybody gets to dress up for spirit week,” sophomore Tyler Lacey said, “It’s really a lot of fun to dress up and hang out with your friends and especially go to the game even though it’s away this year.”
Irmo started out the season by winning their first four games. ]
That injected their team with a fresh sense of confidence and they flexed that confidence on social media, specifically Twitter, and players at Dutch Fork certainly noticed it.
“Every year they always talk on Twitter or social media and talk about how ‘this is different this year,’” senior Elijah Ngugi said, “Then we step in between those lines and we just show them who the dominant force is on the field.”
Due to the magnitude of a rivalry game, there is a spirit week and a pep rally every time Dutch Fork faces Irmo. Students agree that having a pep rally the day of a game brings a lot of energy.
“I do enjoy the pep rallies because like I said I mean you could hang out with your friends and it’s a lot of fun especially you know since everybody you know like the cheerleaders and the football team they going to get you all hyped up for the game,” Tyler Lacey said.
The coaches have worked hard this week to prepare the team both physically and mentally for Friday night. It is well known that anything can happen in a rivalry game, but the coaching staff wants to ensure that the dominant streak continues.
“We need a “W”. Winning is the first thing,” Coach Corley said, “You never know what’s gonna happen in a rivalry game so we just gotta prepare and win the game. This team works real hard.”
For the seniors, this is the last time that they will lace up their cleats and take the field against a rival team. But the roots of the competition go much deeper than their four years of high school.
“There’s a lot of competition in that because we grew up playing youth football with those guys. This is our last year, so we’re going for bragging rights for the rest of our lives, said Elijah Fulmore, “This one really counts.”