Spartanburg Vikings vs. Independence Patriots

All across the state, everyone is getting ready for the big game and none this year is bigger than the Battle of Interstate 85, Spartanburg and Independence of Charlotte on September 6. One long time SHS fan shares his thoughts of the big game just weeks before the first match up ever between the defending 4A champs from North and South Carolina (dp)

As a long time fan of high school football, match ups like Spartanburg vs. Independence are the types of clashes this writer eagerly anticipates from season to season. However, to fully understand the complexities of these match ups, one must look deeper than just talent or the hype that goes with a game of this magnitude.

Coaches will say things like..." the past don't matter "when talking to the press ... and to a certain extent this is true. In private, they will hammer the "tradition" theme to their respective teams over and over...and with good reason. Give me two teams that seem to be evenly matched and I'll take the team with past accomplishments to draw on every time.

Across the land, communities revolve around this creature we refer to as high school football like no other sport can even come close too. It is communities like these that continually produce winner after winner...regardless of players or coaches. Young boys grow up idolizing their favorite "Friday night heroes"...and dream of the day when their time will come to shine in the spotlight. The Vikings of Spartanburg hail from such a community.

Steve Fuller, Desmond Fields, Steve Davis, Anthony Simmons are .just a few names that are "etched in gold" in the minds of young fans of the Vikes over the years. Talent produced many of these young men's accolades...but even more importantly...they inspired many more dreams in the mind of future Vikings.

The "football purist" will tell you..."it's X's and O's than win football games". Don't let them fool you!!! That is the simple explanation of why one team is better on a given night than their opponent. To understand why they perform better is a different story altogether.

In most cases, you can always expect your "star performers" to shine in these marquee games....their talent made them into stars and will serve them well in these situations. The tricky part is figuring out which team will have the supporting cast stand up and make a case for a "new star' in the lights of Friday night football. And this, my friend, is precisely why the "Vikes" will send the boys from INDY scurrying back across the state line to safer encounters with their NC counterparts.

The "name" players will perform, and, undoubtedly, carry with them the bulk of their team's chances of winning. Some observers and fans will "blame" one of these valiant warriors' poor showing for his chosen teams demise in the big game.

Again....Don't believe it!!!!... Watch closely and you will find some one responsible for the poor showing of their opponent. This "surprise performer" will no doubt be labeled a "new star".....but the fact is ...this young man has been waiting for this opportunity for many years....many Friday nights of watching his heroes...many nights of Friday night highlights replayed over and over in his dreams of gridiron glory.

Now, at this point, you may be saying..."Ok  ...if you're so smart...who will it be????" Alas, if I had the answer to that, I, myself would be a "star"...and coaching some football team to glory in the annals of high school football... But I will give you a hint on a hot one to watch:

Look for Antwann Surratt to have a say so in the outcome of this "Clash of Titans"...and mostly likely on the defensive side of the ball...or maybe special teams. While Surratt has had his share of publicity....September 6th is the kind of game that will "etch his name in gold" the minds of young Viking fans........and once again the "seeds of glory" will be planted again.

Tradition? Past Heroes? Important??? You Betcha!!!... It is how HEROES ARE MADE in Friday

Night football lore all across this land we call America....and once again in Spartanburg, SC.



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