Friday night rivalries

Published 10:23 am Friday, October 17, 2014

As a fan of both Ole Miss and the New Orleans Saints, football has been hard on me until recent years. I recall a very recent season where the Rebels won only two games the whole year. It was the end for that particular head coach, and the start of something that has become exciting, though I hold my breath because I know the Football Gods can be cruel Gods, particularly if you are an (insert fan base here). Yes, it can be hard on many fan bases, and there is always room for Clemson to pull a Clemson, or Ole Miss to pull an Ole Miss.

Regardless, even when we were losing game after game, it was not the end for me as a fan. I still attended every home game, never considering staying at home and watching it on TV in my warm apartment. I was committed.

This season here in Western Tidewater, the Franklin High School Broncos program has not played up to standard, yet so far, fans still line up around Armory Field regardless.

That strikes me as important, and hopefully the younger players who wanted to grow up to be a Bronco this season won’t lose heart. The Broncos will be back, and maybe it will even be Friday night, as a rivalry game against a team like Sussex could be just what they need to get going.

Down the road a little ways, the Southampton Academy Raiders are looking to seek vengeance against the Rocky Mount Academy Eagles. As far as rivalries go, it’s relatively new, and a rivalry with a lower case ‘r.’

Doubtlessly, the entire team has had this game marked on their mental or real calendars all year, as it is against the team that upset them last year for the State Championship. This year, on paper anyway, the Raiders look like something of an underdog. For each team, points put up per game is pretty close. But in a conference where giving up something like 40 points per game is the norm, the Eagles are only allowing 16.

Now, SA was able to move on them last year and was in it until losing the turnover battle ultimately gave Rocky Mount the ability to take a knee for the win.

On paper, it’s No. 1 vs. No. 2 and could be a preview of the championship game. It should be a good one.

In Isle of Wight, the Chargers are also on the road. They are 4-3, but were close to being 6-1 if a ball had bounced differently or if the referees had made some calls differently.

In one game near the end, a pass interference call had been so obviously missed that the referees were gone before the other team, the team currently in first place for the conference, finished celebrating to go to the middle of the field for the custom good game hand shakes.

And in another end of game situation, a touchdown was called back on a kid because he stepped out of bounds. Looking at my pictures, I never saw him step out, but it could have been in a frame I missed.

Regardless, while I’m definitely one to complain about the referees, I also know that it’s part of football. And there were other opportunities to win those games that were not blown because of a referee or a bad bounce.

The Chargers are still in good position to be runner up for the conference and potentially secure the second seed in the division now that it is playoff time. That’s a great time to get hot

Even if the breaks don’t come, they just have to go out and win when the opportunities are there.

CAIN MADDEN is the managing editor of The Tidewater News. He can be reached at 562-3187 or by email at