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.
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?
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: http://www.amazon.com/Monte-Dutton/e/B005H3B144/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1414339739&sr=1-1