Games with Lots of Names

Autumn in Woodruff at W.L. Varner Stadium. (Monte Dutton)

Autumn in Woodruff at W.L. Varner Stadium. (Monte Dutton)

Gotta an indie bookstore!

Clinton, South Carolina, Sunday, October 26, 2014, 9:53 a.m.

Here in Clinton, we’ve got lots of big names. Our high school football team is having a rough year, though it has won two straight games.

I don’t mean to make light of names. They come and go, and fall in and out of fashion. Few are the Clarences and Elmers and Rufuses and Drusillas and Myrtles anymore. Our Red Devils may not have great players, but they’ve got great names.

This year’s team includes Tashymen Boyd, Zikail Livingston, Shakeam Dowdy, Drequan Dendy, KoKo Richey, Tyrek Martin, Rakevis Brown, Hezekiah Simpson, Xarrius Choice, Makail McGowan, Anfernee Gary, Dawud Jackson, and Tyreke Watts.

I’ve seen other teams play, and there are some great names – I’m particularly enamored of Woodruff’s Demajiay Rooks and Greenwood’s I.Q. Edmonds – but I’d put the diversity of the Red Devils’ roster against any I’ve seen.

It’s good for spelling.

The sun may be setting on Woodruff, but the football team is 9-0. (Monte Dutton)

The sun may be setting on Woodruff, but the football team is 9-0. (Monte Dutton)


On Friday night, duty and the promise of a few bucks took me to nearby Woodruff for the second time in three weeks. The Wolverines are undefeated, and W.L. Varner Stadium is a much more pleasant place to visit as a sportswriter than as a visiting team. Woodruff won one game, 71-16, and the other, 49-9. In both cases, the clock ran continuously during the second half. The Wolverines combined to score ninety-nine points in the first halves of the two.

This time, a sophomore receiver named Keith Pearson caught four touchdown passes, from Keevon Gist, in the first half.

The press box at Woodruff reminded me of the old days covering North Wilkesboro Speedway, where kindly old ladies brought in fried chicken, casseroles, green beans and the like. It was like dinner on the grounds at church. The first time I went to Woodruff, they had hot dogs better than any at Martinsville. On Friday night, there were two crockpots full of chicken stew and an ample supply of saltines.

As they’re fond of asking around here, man, what you talking about?


Stately Paladin Stadium. (Monte Dutton)

Stately Paladin Stadium. (Monte Dutton)

It was Homecoming at home, which is to say that Presbyterian College observed it against Monmouth, that Big South Conference school from the New Jersey shore. It was also Homecoming at Furman University, where I went to school, and I went there because I’d agreed to describe the game professionally for a daily publication.

Just as Clinton had been winning while I was in Woodruff, the Blue Hose, who are having quite the resurgence, defeated Monmouth, 18-12. Presbyterian is now five and three, and the losses were to Northern Illinois, North Carolina State, and a top-flight team from their native Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), Coastal Carolina.

Meanwhile, the Paladins were succumbing, 45-0, to Samford with yours truly in the house. Ah, it’s the risk one takes by being a mercenary with a laptop.

I was really excited to cover the Furman game because it was the first time I’ve had a chance to write about something that occurred in the daytime. Nighttime deadlines mean it’s the art of the possible. It’s a matter of describing the contest as best one can within the time allotted. It requires lots of writing as the game goes along. It’s mainly “busy work.”

In the daytime, there’s time to do the job right.

It would have been “righter” had Furman done it’s job right, but, it was a beautiful day, and I saw lots of old friends, and it was before the game and they hadn’t had a chance to get pissed off yet.

One never knows for sure what’s going to happen in a football game.

Unless one is in Woodruff …

A high school football team is at the center of my novel, The Intangibles, which is set in the tumultuous sixties. You can find most all my books, fiction and non, here:

About Monte

For 20 seasons, I mostly wrote about NASCAR. I'm still paying attention, but I'm spending more of my time these days writing novels and songs. I try to blog regularly on whatever happens to strike my fancy.
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3 Responses to Games with Lots of Names

  1. Dave Ongie says:

    I’ve covered quite a few of those high school blowouts in recent years. I like to call them Timex games. In the first half, the underdog takes a lickin’ and in the second half the clock keeps on tickin’.
    The best name I’ve run across in my time was a running back named Sky Hicks. But there’s another kid I covered last year with a name tailor-made for Nashville: Hank Black.

  2. Monte says:

    I like that: Timex games.
    The latest fashion seems to be apostrophes for no apparent reason.
    Ra’shad. Sha’wun.
    Lots of Joshes, Justins, Jessicas, Justines and Jeremys, too. And Caseys and Kaseys and Kaycees and KCs.
    Some are going extinct due to cliché association: Dicks, Peters, Mary Janes.
    I guess this is the way it’s always been. Just accelerated in the electronic age.

  3. Dave Ongie says:

    I remember the good old days when there was only one way to spell Ashley. I learned three new variations just last week while covering a volleyball match. Times change. Hell, nowadays there’s even more than 50 ways to leave your lover (Send her a Tweet, Pete).

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