Northside, Warner Robins students prepare for big game

Northside, Warner Robins students prepare for big game

jmink@macon.comOctober 31, 2013 

WARNER ROBINS -- It’s Halloween, and Warner Robins High School senior Emily Wallace is dressed as a “Harry Potter” character. Students across the country are dressing up, preparing for costume parties and trick-or-treat traditions.

But Wallace is focused on a different event: the big game.

“We have two schools that have had the biggest rivalries for years and years and years,” said Wallace, 17. “We like the students to get as pumped and spirited as possible, so we can pull out a win.”

Those two schools are Northside and Warner Robins high schools, which face off Friday in what many call the biggest rivalry game in the midstate.

It will be the 56th time the two teams have played, and Northside has won three seasons in a row. But it’s a new year, and students on both sides are gearing up for a win. Students spend months preparing for this game, decorating the school, purchasing game day attire and planning tailgating activities.

Northside senior Devonte Taylor hasn’t seen anything like it. A defensive back for the football team, Taylor moved this year from Savannah, where he attended a private school. At his old school, about 100 people attended the football games. When he came to Northside, students immediately explained the atmosphere is different.

“The Warner Robins-Northside game is the most hyped game you will ever play, probably in your life,” he said. “It’s that game that you have to win.”

Students are doing their part to generate enough hype to carry their teams to a victory. Both schools had spirit weeks, during which students dressed differently depending on the day -- there was Tacky Tuesday at Warner Robins and Retro Wednesday at Northside, for example. There are pep rallies, massive merchandise sales and hallways plastered with decorations.

Students spent weeks painting, cutting, pasting and constructing posters. The schools are covered with homemade works of art, from giant, glittery eagles and demons to football jersey numbers.

“This is definitely the best week of the year by far,” said Chris Greene, 17, a senior at Warner Robins. “The fact that we get to be part of this, it’s just awesome to experience.”

That experience has helped shape the community and has become a tradition at Warner Robins, Principal Steve Monday said. Not only does it give students something to look forward to, but it boosts their overall high school experience, he said.

“The high school experience is supposed to be the best experience of your life and not just academically,” Monday said.

At Northside, classes carry on as usual, but there is more excitement in the air, which benefits students, teachers said.

“You very seldom have anybody miss this week,” said Walter Walker, a career technology instructor at Northside. “They want to be here.”

Even as a freshman, 15-year-old Melanie Wood has wanted to be here for years. Her mother is a Northside alumna, and, on Friday, Melanie plans to be decked entirely in Northside blue.

“It’s the big game of the year -- no one misses it,” she said. “My mom’s friends are flying in to see it. ... It’s not something small. It’s big.”

Information from The Telegraph’s archives was used in this report.

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