CONCORD VS. A.L. BROWN
IN NORTH CAROLINA, WHEN CONCORD AND A.L
Brown meet Aug. 21 the schools will do so for the 85th time.
The Spiders lead the series 42-28-4, but the Wonders have
won 24 of 38 since 1975.
Fights, vandalism, pranks and obscene gestures are all
said to have occurred surrounding the Concord-A.L. Brown
rivalry over the years.
While these acts of fandom don’t represent ideal sports-
manship, they illustrate the intensity and passion, and at
times, extreme dislike between the two schools.
Scott Boggs, editor of the website Friday Nights in K-Town,
says random acts of violence at both schools were common-
place during the lead-up to the game in the 1960-1990’s eras.
School buildings and athletic fields were defaced with the
opposing team’s colors. Players and coaches were targeted
with juvenile pranks. Popular hangouts were off-limits turf
for students from the other town with violators subject
to fisticuffs. And in 1971, a Concord cheerleader was
photographed waving the one-finger salute after A.L. Brown
snapped a 10-year losing streak to the Spiders.
“I can say it’s very accurate,” said Boggs, a 1984 graduate
of A.L. Brown. “When it comes to Concord and Kannapolis,
you aren’t going to find a more passionate fan base. I can
definitely say it’s true because I have been a part of it. I’ve
mentioned things that some might not want to know existed,
but it’s part of it.”
Over time, however, calmer heads have prevailed, and now
the rivalry is more about what happens on the football field
and not tomfoolery around the community.
“Nowadays the fans try to keep it as clean as possible, and
as far as the game is concerned, it’s played clean with good
sportsmanship on both sides,” Boggs said. “Both communities and schools want to cultivate a feeling of goodwill toward
each other, and for the most part that exists.”
GAFFNEY VS. BYRNES
THE UPSTATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA HAS LONG BEEN A
hotbed of high school football. When pinpointing a rivalry that
has epitomized the dominance of this region, Gaffney and
Byrnes are the premier teams that have hoisted the state
championship trophy the most in recent years. The Indians
and Rebels have combined for 28 state titles since 1927.
Gaffney, founded in 1924, has a string of 17 state
championships dating back to before the Great Depression,
the most in South Carolina history (1927, 1928, 1929, 1931,
1934, 1960, 1961, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1985, 1992, 1997,
2003, 2005, 2006 and 2012).
Byrnes, located in Duncan and built in 1955, began its
run of state titles in the mid -1970s and has had consistent
success for five decades (1976, 1982, 1986, 2002, 2003,
2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2011).
“Those schools have distanced themselves from other
schools in some ways because they’ve got phenomenal
[facilities],” said South Carolina sports writer, author and
But, the Rebels have had the edge in postseason success
historian Monte Dutton. “When you start covering that level
you can’t believe all the stuff that happens on the field.”
Beginning in 2002, one of the two teams has won a state
championship in every year except two, including two years
in which they both claimed titles in different classifications.
In 2003 and 2005, Gaffney won the Big 16 Division I cham-
pionship and Byrnes claimed the 4A title. In 2011, Byrnes
defeated Gaffney 31-24 for the Rebels’ 11th and most recent
championship. When the Rebels moved up to Division I in
2006, it was Gaffney that ended Byrnes’ streak of four state
titles by beating them in the regular season and playoffs
before going on to win the school’s 16th state championship.
in Division I since 2007, winning four of the last seven Big 16
titles. The Indians and Rebels have met 28 times with Gaffney
holding a 15-13 advantage in the head-to-head matchup.
Rivalries come about for a variety reasons and the Carolinas boast some of
the most colorful and ardent ones in the country. Whether in the Tar Heel
State or the Palmetto State, high school football rivalries bring out the best
in the fans and players, instilling pride in the communities. If a rivalry is
measured by longevity, competitiveness and disdain for the opposing team,
then count Concord vs. A.L. Brown and Gaffney vs. Byrnes as two of the
fiercest in the Carolinas. BY DEREK SMITH