Fall means lots of things to those of us in RoCo…pumpkin spice everything, wondering when these hot and humid days will turn to breezy, cool nights, and Hocus Pocus on TV (duh)…but for many in the county, the most exciting thing about fall is FRIDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL! What’s not to love about friendly competition and live football at every end of the county?! As the varsity cheerleading coach at Carson High School and a Rowan County girl through and through, Friday night football has definitely been consuming my brain lately. Everywhere I go, I see someone wearing a Rowan County high school shirt or hear people talking about the rivalry football game on Friday, so I present to you….
Seven Reasons Why Friday Night Football (FNF) is BIG ‘Round Here:
7. The fried concession food…duh!
We’d be lying if we said Chic-fil-A sandwiches and Papa John’s pizza didn’t taste better from a concession stand. Booster club moms and dads work hard to fry those fries perfectly… and don’t even get me started on the Cheerwine slushies! You can’t really get any more RoCo than Cheerwine slushies, nothing’s better than sitting in the bleachers on a hot Friday night with one in your hand. Or one in both. No judgment here!
6. The “Crazies,” the “Rowdies,” the “Orange & Blue Crews,” the “Stang Gangs”… you get the point.
They’re loved, they’re hated, they’re rivaled, they’re envied. Every school has one, and every school thinks they have the best one. You know what I’m talking about – the student sections! If you are in high school and not on the field or in the band, you are probably in the student section on Friday nights, decked out in an outfit you’ll look back on and laugh at, having the time of your life. Trust us non-students, you’ll look back on those nights with fondness, so soak them all in! As a spectator, it’s always fun to hear the student sections’ new chants, see their crazy themes, and watch those riled-up high school students have some fun and cheer one their teams!
5. The energy-pumpers…the BAND!
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the band as one of the top seven reasons we love FNF in RoCo! These high school students contribute to the atmosphere of Friday nights more than anyone! They keep the energy high and the volume LOUD. How fun it is to sing Sweet Caroline at the top of your lungs, or sing the words to your alma mater’s fight song after they score a touchdown?! Also, can we talk about how hard it is to get all of those formations perfectly, while keeping air flowing through their instruments during the half-time shows?! I played the trumpet in middle school…and it was hard while sitting down! Props to the talented bands!
4. The high-flying, flipping, fan-girling cheerleaders!
Obviously, I couldn’t make it through the top seven reasons why FNF is a big deal without giving a shout-out to all the hardworking female (and male) cheerleaders who are on the sidelines every single Friday cheering their hearts out! These girls and guys work like crazy at practice throughout the week to show-off their difficult tricks on Friday nights, and we love to watch them! They throw girls 20 ft into the air, do flips without using their hands, and keep smiling, win or lose. They often don’t get enough love, but they definitely deserve a spot on this list as one of the top seven reasons people like to go to games on Fridays!
3. The Good Old Fashioned Rivalries
Our roots run deep here in RoCo, and so do our rivalries! Every school has at least one rival. You know what I’m talking about. It’s those games when there’s absolutely no spaces in the parking lot and both teams have been talking smack to each other on social media for weeks in advance. No matter what teams are rivals, the good thing about RoCo is that we can always get along with each other off the football field. Just not on that particular Friday.
2. Seeing old friends!!
The number two reason we love FNF in RoCo is that we get to see and catch up with old friends. Like I said, our roots run deep, so if you go to a football game on a Friday night, you are guaranteed to see at least four people you went to high school or college with and one person who taught you. There’s really nothing I love more than hanging out with my high school friends, and I know a lot of you would agree with me! Friday night football games give us the perfect excuse to catch up and simply reminisce.
1. Rowan County may consist of “small towns”, but we are MIGHTY in talent!
Seriously, the talent in our county is unreal! Lots of our players go on to play college ball— D1, D2, and D3—but it doesn’t stop there. Chris Smith, a defensive end who I cheered for at West Rowan, was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2014 and currently plays for the Cleveland Browns. Javon Hargrave, a former North Rowan football star, and Keion Adams, a former Salisbury Hornet, were drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2016 and 2017. And these are just a few recent ones! It’s not odd to see guys with future NFL talent on our football fields across the county on Friday nights. We’re not just strong individually – we have multiple teams in the county who have fought their way to play at states, and win! From 2008 to 2010, the West Rowan Falcons won three consecutive 3A State Championships and boasted a 46-game winning streak. The Salisbury Hornets clinched the 2010 2A State Championship at Wake Forest’s football stadium. Though we love watching our favorite team no matter what, win or lose, we can’t lie that it’s fun to watch these dedicated young people make it to the “big leagues” and win it all.
There you have it friends – the top seven reasons we love Friday Night Football here in RoCo. If you haven’t been to your alma mater lately, or are new to RoCo and have been meaning to attend a football game at the high school closest to you, get out on a Friday this fall, cheer on the kids, order a Cheerwine slushy, and see some old friends!