They're kickin' it up a notch

South Pointe cheerleaders practice Thursday at the school.
South Pointe cheerleaders practice Thursday at the school.

Tonight, it's more than a city rivalry

It might not be a rivalry rooted in history, but there's no question that tensions are running high as the South Pointe Stallions prepare to take on Northwestern's Trojans tonight in varsity football.

"To us it's a big rivalry," South Pointe Principal Al Leonard said. "We're the new kids on the block, so to speak."

The connection between Northwestern and South Pointe is strong.

South Pointe coach Bobby Carroll said some of his seniors played at Northwestern as freshman. Students at the two schools come from the same neighborhoods and played in youth leagues together. Carroll, himself, coached at Northwestern for 22 years.

"It's huge," Carroll said. "It's the biggest game this school has ever been involved in."

Northwestern coach Jimmy Wallace said as the season progresses, each game becomes more important than the last. This game is bigger than most, he said.

Wallace has high expectations not just for his team, but for the crowd as well.

"USC's going to Knoxville, Clemson's going to Maryland, but this is the most important level of football, anyway," he said. "There's no reason it shouldn't be sold out."

-- Jessica Schonberg

What: South Pointe vs. Northwestern football

When: 8 p.m. today

Where: Rock Hill District Three Stadium

Tickets: Tickets are $7. They are on sale at Northwestern in the school's athletics office and at South Pointe in the main gallery from 11:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. today. Any tickets remaining will be sold at the gates beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Both schools sport 8-1 overall records. Northwestern is 4-0 in Region 3-AAAA, and South Pointe is 4-1 in the region. If Northwestern wins, the Trojans have an inside track on the region title. If South Pointe wins, there could be a three-way tie for first place.

The Herald asked students at both schools what they like about playing a crosstown rival. Here's what they had to say:

South Pointe students

"For me, it's that I used to go there," senior Lauren Poling said. "I used to go to Northwestern, but I hope South Pointe beats them."

"You get to say you beat them for a whole year," said sophomore Michael Ashley, a defensive tackle on the junior varsity team.

"I think it's cool because I went to middle school with all my friends at Northwestern," freshman Carley Baker said.

Northwestern students

"If you beat 'em, the fans get mad," senior Eric Blanchard said. "It makes you want to win it more."

"I go to the Applied Technology Center with the South Pointe cheerleaders, so we have a lot of conversations about school spirit," senior Jassmine Evans said.

"It's just interesting if you know people at the other school," freshman Sheree Ours said.