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Playing the name game across the river

There's an old familiar saying that all the good things in life are free. That kind of goes along with simple pleasures are the best, and don't look a gift horse in the mouth. Football fans in our part of the state can enjoy good things, simple pleasures and gifts just by reading The Augusta Chronicle sports pages on Sundays. In those pages we get to peruse not only Georgia's scores, but the South Carolina High School football scores as well.

Not only do we get to read them in the paper, but the Friday night scoreboard shows on Augusta television stations give us the tallies from our neighbors across the Savannah River. I used to live near Savannah and had the same luxury from the low country. Citizens of Columbus likely get Alabama scores in their paper, and folks in Chattanooga get Tennessee and Georgia scores.

I've got kin in South Carolina that live near Charlotte. Like us, they get scores from two states, their own and the Tar Heel variety. Even the Jacksonville newspaper used to have an outstanding section on south Georgia high school football along with northern Florida.

Most people don't give a hoot about these free scores from another state, but I do. You see, I was born in South Carolina, and I am reminded of that every time I read their scores. It usually comes right at the top of the list because Abbeville wins more than they lose. When they win, I get to see my birthplace in print pronto.

My mother was from South Carolina, and her last stop there was McCormick. We lived there when I was a toddler and didn't know a football from what's in a dirty diaper. But you know what? I still look for McCormick's scores, plus it reminds me of minced garlic, oregano and poppy seeds.

My mom graduated from Lewisville High School but it was not in Lewisville, or Louisville. The school is in a town smaller than Dearing called Richburg. She was in the last 11th grade class that could graduate at Lewisville, so you bet I check their score. I also have two cousins whose kids graduated from Lewisville, and my uncle is the mayor of Richburg. One of those cousins and his three brothers graduated from York, not New York, High School. The paper tells me that York is now identified as York Comprehensive. I thought that was Congress' plan to control immigration. You know, comprehensive. I never miss York's football score. but they don't win enough to show up dead last on the list very often.

My York cousins used to laugh at their Podunk county rivals Clover and fear their big time county rivals Rock Hill. Last week's paper told me that Clover beat Rock Hill. In 1970, my cousins would've said that would never happen. Fort Mill was another Podunk York county school that is now big enough to beat the other big Rock Hill school, Northwestern.

Another set of cousins went to Lancaster High School. Unlike Pennsylvania, this Lancaster is pronounced with a long A. They used to laugh at how bad Blacksburg was. They must still be pretty bad because Broome beat Blacksburg 48-0. Who's to laugh? A subdivision named South Pointe beat Lancaster 28-18.

The cake taker in Carolina is the many hyphenated schools. There's Ridge Spring-Monetta, Wagener-Salley, Batesburg-Leesville, Allendale-Fairfax, Blackville-Hilda, Denmark-Olar, Williston-Elko, Bamberg-Ehrhardt, Lugoff-Elgin and the trifecta Hunter-Kinard-Tyler. At least they changed Langley-Bath-Clearwater to Midland Valley. My daddy used to have a friend whose boys played for Belton-Honea Path.

If Wrens and Louisville were in South Carolina, I don't guess they would be Jefferson County. Glennville and Reidsville would have stuck in a hyphen when they consolidated rather than becoming Tattnall County.

Over in Due West, S.C., they have Dixie High School, which would be politically incorrect in Georgia. It, too, is in Abbeville County, as is Calhoun Falls. Does that mean that Calhoun once fell or the water drops fast there? They used to call it Little Las Vegas.

When I read the Carolina scores I think it must be fun to play for Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head. I was 30 before I believed that those resorts had teenagers that actually lived there and went to school. I thought they were semi-pro teams.

My favorite Carolina school name? When I read their scoreboard my heart races at the sound of Marlboro County. I'll bet their mascot is a horse riding, tall, dark headed cowboy with a strong smelling cigarette hanging from his lips. Until I got new glasses I always read that one as Marlboro Country. That would be one tough team.

Web posted on Thursday, October 19, 2006

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