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School spirit soars for big game

Rock Hill High School student Jessey Nguyen purchases beads in school colors Thursday in the school cafeteria. Rock Hill High has its annual football game with crosstown rival Northwestern High School tonight.
Rock Hill High School student Jessey Nguyen purchases beads in school colors Thursday in the school cafeteria. Rock Hill High has its annual football game with crosstown rival Northwestern High School tonight.

Students at Rock Hill and Northwestern high schools dressed up in their school colors, bashed a junked car and took out their aggression on yarn dolls in the other school's colors this week -- all to prove their school is the better of the two.

Somewhere else this might sound crazy, but in Rock Hill it only means one thing: It's time for the Rock Hill-Northwestern football game.

Rock Hill High will take on Northwestern tonight for the final football game of the regular season and as always, it's stirred excitement in the three-school town.

"It's very important," Northwestern athletic director Bill Warren said. "You prepare the whole season for this one game. It's hard to live in this community for a year after you've lost this game."

Since 1972, Rock Hill and Northwestern have faced off in the final football matchup of the regular season.

Tonight's game will be the last time that happens for at least two years. A realignment will put Northwestern and Rock Hill in different regions.

Although the game won't be deciding region championships or playoff standings anymore for at least two years after tonight, high school football fans say the bragging rights will be enough to keep the rivalry strong.

"It loses a little bit of luster when it's not the last game of the year, but I can't imagine the Rock Hill High-Northwestern game not always being a good game," said Billy Parker, athletic director at Rock Hill High. "It's just a great traditional rivalry."

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