The PickrenZONE No. 7

Who Says it is Just a Football Game?
by Dave Pickren
The PickrenZONE

On Friday Night, for the 31st time I will attend an event that I have come to love more than Clemson / USC football, more than the Braves in the World Series and definitely more than another NFL SuperBore game. Friday Night is THE GAME  and once again I will be ready as the Viking and Cavaliers take the  field in what is arguably the best high school football rivalry in the state of South Carolina.

While every school  has a rival and to each school that rival is the most important  game of the year,  nothing  compares  to the Spartanburg City showdown.  For  the  past 36 years, the entire town of Spartanburg stops to witness  this  game.  No  other  town  comes close to the intensity of this rivalry.  Nothing has the proximity of these schools, only 5.5 miles apart.  Nothing  has the history of playing the game 42 times in 36 years including a  state championship in 95 and a State Semi Final in 99. Nothing draws the crowds  that  cause  this game to sell out on Monday morning, 5 days before the  game.  Only  in  Spartanburg do all these intangibles come together to produce  a  piece  of Americana that is unequaled for excitement, intensity and pride.

This  year's game is again important for both teams. At stake as always are the  bragging  rights  for  the  year.  But  also this year up for grabs is positioning for the upcoming play-offs. The winner has the inside track for the  Region  2  Title and controls their own fate for the Region title. The winner  has  the  chance to lock up the home field advantage throughout the play-offs   and   avoid  the  trip  to  Summerville  on  the  Friday  after Thanksgiving.  But most importantly the winner will know they competed with the best and were victorious.

A Little History

Spartanburg  High  School  has  always  been the city school of Spartanburg going  back  over  70  years. In  those days the Vikings were known as The Spartanburg  Crimson  Tide.  The  name  was changed in the 60's as a way to further integrate the school after desegregation occurred in Spartanburg in the 1960's

Dorman  on the other hand was the county high school which came together in 1964 with the combination of Fairforest, Roebuck and the segregated Lincoln High  School on the west side of Spartanburg. Back in those days Dorman was in  the  middle  of a field with nothing around for miles and miles. It was truly the rural county high school.

As  time  passed and the west side of Spartanburg grew, Dorman slowly began to  catch up with Spartanburg first in enrollment, then in size and finally in  ability. Today the west side of Spartanburg has surpassed the east side in terms of development, new housing, and in student enrollment. In 2 years the  new Dorman High School will open giving Dorman the premier educational facility in the state of South Carolina.

Early Years

Spartanburg dominated the series early on and won the first 13 games before Dorman  finally  broke thru in 1975 for their first win. Dorman's first win was  played  at Wofford's old Snyder Field and provided a chance for Dorman to  finally announce to the state that they could play with the big boys by defeating the Vikings 31-27.

For  the  remainder  of the 70's and into the 80's, The Vikings continually had  the  better  of the Cavaliers on the field and amassed a 22-1-1 record against  their  rivals.  Also  in  1981  the  game was moved from the final regular  season game to the 3rd game of the season when SCHSL placed Dorman in  Region 1 and left Spartanburg in Region 2. Two years later Dorman moved back  into  Region 2 and the game has been the 7th game of the season since then. Sort of like the 3rd Saturday in October for Tennessee and Alabama.

My first taste of the rivalry

1975 was my first Dorman ? Spartan High game and an event that I will never forget.  I  remember  vividly  as  a  6 year old driving across town to the Wofford Campus and sitting in the corner of the end zone to watch the game.  It  was  a special occasion as my Godparent's son was the QB for Dorman and led  the  Cavs on a last minute drive to defeat the powerful Vikings. I was hooked  immediately  and  forever.  I  still have a photo of the scoreboard reflecting the final score of 31- 27. More than anything this one game made me  a  fan  of  high  school football. For some reason games were played in colder  weather back then and I will always remember wearing so many layers of  clothing  and  socks and sweaters that I could barely walk. The players were  so  much  bigger then, or at least they seemed so to me, in fact they were  larger than life and faster than a speeding bullet. I was hooked. And now nearly 30 years later and a thousand games later, I still get that rush of  adrenaline  that  I had as a 6 year old sitting in those stands for the first time.


Tradition  plays  a  large role in the rivalry sometimes even out shadowing the  game. As Spartanburg was the city school and Dorman the county school, Spartanburg  began  to  refer to the Cavs as farmers. Thus the tradition of Farmers  Day began where the students, faculty and administrators at Dorman began dressing up as farmers on game day to enjoy the "farm" experience.

Over  the  years  there has been pig races, cow milking contest, hay baling competitions  and  of course fans dressing the part. Somehow over the year, Spartan  High  decided  to  "mock" their country cousins and also began the tradition  of Farmers Day. Now both schools follow the tradition of Farmers and  Hay  rides  and  Pep  Rallies. Of course today both schools are in the middle  of  the  urban  sprawl and both are definitely city schools but the image of the City vs. Country still plays in on in this rivalry.

Viking Domination

As  the years progressed, The Vikings continued to own the Cavaliers on the gridiron  winning  the  majority of the games. Of course the powerful teams that  Spartanburg  had  in  the  70's  and  80's  under Bill Carr dominated everyone  they  played and were certainly one of the top teams in the state despite  never winning a championship during this time. Dorman did manage a second  win  in 

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