brother” in a metaphorical sense. When it comes to Rich-
Richmond vs. Scotland County
SOMETIMES RIVALRIES PIT “BROTHER VERSUS
mond County and Scotland County, the rivalry pitted brother
versus brother literally.
Former Richmond County coach Daryl Barnes and his
sibling, Mark, now at South Carolina’s Sumter High School
but formerly the head coach at Scotland County, squared off
for five years in a family feud that included regular season
games and two playoff matchups.
Mark Barnes, who has a career record 233-94 with stops
at Reidsville, Scotland County, Brevard and Crest, won 135
games in 16 seasons for the Fighting Scots. Daryl Barnes
coached 34 years at Southern Guilford, Northeast Guilford
and Richmond County where he won five state championships. Over the years this game between neighboring
counties has gone a long way in determining the winner of
the Southeastern 4A Conference and for bragging rights in
the Sandhills region of North Carolina.
“I did that game last year and to have 10,000 people
at a high school football game where they’re lined up and
tailgating at 3 p.m.,” said Chris Edwards, a broadcaster with
Time Warner Cable. “I don’t think you see that a lot in North
Carolina. I’m on the field doing my regular pregame routine
two hours before the game and there are 5,000 people in
the stands. Honestly, it was like going to a small college
The height of the rivalry occurred between 2008 and
2011. After a 10-year drought Richmond County won its
seventh state title (1978, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1997, 1998
and 2008) and is considered one of the top programs in
the history of North Carolina football. But in 2011, Scotland
County earned its first state championship, raising the
stakes in the rivalry.
Haywood County Championship, the Iron Bowl, the Battle for
Pisgah vs. Tuscola
THIS RIVALRY IS KNOWN BY MANY NAMES – THE
Haywood, the Paper Bowl and the County Clash. Whatever
it’s called it was dubbed the best high school football rivalry
in North Carolina by USA Today.
Like a lot of other rivalries, its intensity comes from the
fact Pisgah and Tuscola are the only schools in the immediate area and are located less than 10 miles apart. Pisgah
is in Canton and draws from the eastern part of the county,
while Tuscola is located in Waynesville and serves the western part of Haywood. When the two teams meet, as many as
15,000 fans show up as early as midafternoon.
“They’ll brag they are the only rivalry where someone like
Charlie Daniels will come down and play for them,” said Justin
Jones, high school football analyst with CarolinaGridiron.com.
Water towers have been painted in the opposing team’s
colors, playing surfaces torn up and field houses adorned
About as competitive as can be, Tuscola leads the series
26-24-1. The Black Bears dominated the early series, winning 10 of 14 between 1966 and 1977. The Mountaineers
then reeled off 10 straight victories, the longest streak in
history, and won 12 of 13 from 1978-1990. Since then the
series has been more balanced with Tuscola winning 13
times and Pisgah winning 11 times. The only tie in the series
came in 1974.
The rivalry took new meaning for the 2013-2017 realignment period when Pisgah was placed in the same 3A
classification with Tuscola. In the 50th meeting in 2013,
Pisgah defeated Tuscola 27-7 for its first victory in Waynesville since 2005.
Since 2009, the game has been given national attention
by the Great American Rivalry Series, which is sponsored by
the United States Marines. Online audio and video broadcasts have been made available to fans nationwide by iHigh
and a player from each team receives a scholarship.
Hunter Huss vs. Ashbrook
WHEN JAMAR MCKOY
became the head coach at
Hunter Huss in 2014, he
knew the importance of the
Ashbrook rivalry and the
significance of the annual
Battle of the Bell game.
The Huskies were on a
five-game losing streak
to the Green Wave during
McKoy’s first season and
they were desperate to take
back the Victory Bell, the
prize in the 45-year rivalry.
Huss forced four turnovers
and defeated Ashbrook 20-
14 for the team’s first win in
the series since 2008.
“It just felt great to bring that bell back home,” McKoy said. “I
knew coming into this job it needed to happen. It’s home now.”
Like a lot of other schools in the Carolinas, Huss and
Ashbrook play not only for the satisfaction of beating the
crosstown rival, but for a tangible keepsake that stays with
the winner until they lose it on the gridiron.
As the game clock winds down and it becomes apparent
the bell is going to change hands, it is wheeled down behind
the end zone by the loser’s athletic director. After the horn
sounds, players, cheerleaders and fans rush the field to take
possession of the bell and paint it in their team’s colors in
what is one of the great scenes in high school football.
Huss and Ashbrook first met in 1970, although Huss
played Ashley from 1964-1969 before Ashley became
Ashbrook in a consolidation with Holbrook. Ashbrook leads
the series 26-19 as the series has been competitive over its
four decades-plus history. Ashley won all six meetings before
becoming Ashbrook. Then, over the first two decades, each
team won 10 games and the rivalry began to take hold in the
city of Gastonia. This game is worth the price of admission if
only to see the pageantry of the Victory Bell repainted green
and white or Columbia blue and navy.