Saturday, August 30, 2008

Friday Night Football: Abbeville at 96

The crack staff of Voting under the Influence were at Wilson-Campbell Stadium Friday night for the showdown between regional rivals Abbeville (Class AA) and Ninety Six (Class A).

The first thing to note is the electric atmosphere. Ninety Six's Wilson-Campbell Stadium is a fine venue for small high school football. The only drawback is that for a regional showdown like this is that parking and seating are limited. If you go to Ninety Six for a big game, be prepared to park along some street and walk a bit, stand in line for a ticket, and bring your own chair for their "hill" region if you get there too late. One of the things that struck me is there is as much fan merchandise on sale for Ninety Six as there is for any AAAA team.

Ninety Six borrows its entrance from Clemson. The players rub a rock at the top of the grassy hill in one the end zones and run down that hill upon the playing field.

That tradition was not enough to deal with the Abbeville team that paid the Wildcats a visit Friday night. Abbeville brought a huge number of fans, and those fans were not disappointed. Abbeville's Dureal Elmore rushed for 301 yards and scored four touchdowns in route to Abbeville's 40-16 win over their hosts.

Overall, though, going to a Ninety Six home game is a good experience. The facilites are adequate, the atomopshere is electric and the it is a safe place for a family evening out. You can get a glimpse at how much the local football team means to a small town that had its biggest economic engine, the textile mill, close down years ago. Even in defeat the fanbase was proud, loyal, and well behaved.

Ranking it overall with Abbeville at Ninety Six:

Facilities: B (Though one Abbeville graduate of our staff wanted a D)
Fan Comfort, concessions and safety: B
Fan behavior: A
Family friendly environment? Yes
Coaching: Ninety Six C-, Abbeville C
Team Effort: Ninety Six B, Abbeville B
Offciating: C-

Next week, we head to Dixie to watch them take on Camden Military. Don't fret, the big guys are coming soon. Byrnes, Dutch Fork, Summerville, they are all on our radar.

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