In 1988, five 1-A High Schools in Marlboro County consolidated to establish what is today, the Marlboro County High School Bulldogs.
Many students and citizens disagreed with the consolidation plans due to the established rivalry between all the schools. The community eventually supported the plan by offering interest in the naming of the new mascot and colors of the new school. A favorite from the community was the Marlboro Mustangs. The community decided upon the name of new school; the Marlboro County Bulldogs with the school colors, black and vegas gold.
The athletic program drew the most concern. Football was the main sport that people were interested in because it would require so much work in developing a consolidated football squad. The team overall played fairly well considering the transfer from a 1-A school to a 4-A school.
The fan support decreased steadily as the years progressed. Even with a conference championship in 1994, the Bulldog Football squad received little recognition or support for their improving performance.
The lack of fan support was concerning the coaching staff who blamed themselves asking " what are we doing wrong"? The attendance was so low, that it was not possible to hold a successful raffle drawing.
In 1997, Dean Boyd joined the coaching staff as the new head coach, and helped cure this team's problems and struggles. Boyd's motive was to get the community's trust again and bring them back to the stadium and promised them that it would get better in just a matter of "time."
Boyd certainly didn't need as much time as expected because in 1998, he guided the young Bulldog squad to their first State Title in school history. Luckily, it only took a decade for this new school to experience a championship and a winning tradition. This finally got the fierce bite back in the Bulldog.
Fans stormed into McAlpine Stadium in 1999 expecting to be entertained in a winning fashion. That's exactly what they got. Rather than sitting home on a Friday night flipping through the channels with the remote, everyone was at the Dawg House cheering on the Dawgs.
Local retailers currently sell Bulldog Football tickets prior to game-time due to the extremely large attendance. When the Bulldogs travel for away games, the hosting team usually have seating arrangement problems because the large crowd that follows the dawgs week in and week out.
It didn't take long for the rest of the state to hear about the new explosive team from the Pee Dee area. Some questioned, "Where in the world is Marlboro County, South Carolina?" Some's curiosity led them to the small town of Bennettsville to take a first hand look at the future of South Carolina High School Football.
The Bulldogs have developed strong rivalries with some schools in the Palmetto State. Recently, a bulldog motto was created in concern of these heated rivalries. The motto is "Loved by Few, Hated by Many, Respected by ALL!" The players truly live up to this as they use it for intimidation purposes.
Today, the Bulldogs have expanded their publicity nation-wide, as Marlboro County landed on the National Top 25 Rankings Poll. South Carolinians now know exactly where Marlboro County is located: Beside the river, next to the NC Border, in the cotton fields is where you will find Marlboro County, home of the Bulldogs.
Hopefully, this success will stick around in the cotton fields for quite some time, so good luck to the rest of South Carolina's teams, because when the Dawgs are in town, you better bring all you got!