For Science Hill High School seniors Oliver Greenwood, Mitchell Wilber, Amin Kadah and Zach Botts, every football game this season has been something they look forward to.
At each game, the foursome suit up in black shirts and shorts and hoist the S-H-H-S flags with the team as they run on the field and when the team scores a touchdown. They are somewhat the ambassadors of school spirit as they pump up and excite the student section as the school’s designated flag runners.
And tonight’s game will be no different.
With the ’Toppers and Dobyns-Bennett High School both at 9-0 for the season, both football teams are vying for a perfect 10-0 regular season record and Science Hill is looking to finally end an 18-year losing streak against the Indians.
The flag runners said they are excited about tonight’s game.
“We’re going to fire up D-B from the ground up. This is our year. We haven’t beat them in 18 years and we’re going to beat them this year,” Kadah said. “We just can’t wait to be 10 and 0 for the first time in a while.”
Wilber said their job in exciting the student section is something that is particularly special for himself, Greenwood, Kadah and Botts.
“It’s our senior year,” he said. “It’s the last time we’re going to get to be a part of playing Dobyns-Bennett.”
Botts said that being a flag runner is definitely a boost of adrenaline around game time.
“The favorite part (of being a flag runner) is before the game when the team runs out and everyone’s just crazy and we’re just running everywhere,” he said.
For Greenwood, a win against D-B would be a big accomplishment for the school as a whole.
“We’re all pretty excited and we just want to go out there and hope we have ... not a close match, but a good game (tonight). I hope we pull out on top and get to run the flags a lot tomorrow,” Greenwood said. “We need to beat D-B this year. I want to be the class of 2013 that beats D-B.”
According to SHHS Principal Melanie Riden-Bacon, the school has sold around 900 tickets in two days for the game. The school will hold a small pep rally around 2 p.m. today to show support for the football team.
“We usually promote (school spirit) by wearing a certain color. We’re doing white out tomorrow night,” she said. “We’re pumped. We want to support our guys. This is the game of the century, in our opinion. It’s going to see whose record gets beaten this year, so it’s a healthy rivalry. It helps to have a competitive school that you want to compete with academically and athletically.”
Riden-Bacon said the students have been taking each game and each victory in stride and that during morning announcements students promote school spirit and attendance for each game.
She said she hopes the students who do turn out for the game tonight represent Science Hill to the best of their ability.
“We hope that we go and show good sportsmanship, we bring a class act,” Riden-Bacon said. “No matter what happens (tonight), neither school has anything to be disappointed in. We’re very proud of our school, we’re very proud of our football team. They’re an excellent group of men and they’re going to play their hardest and whatever happens school starts Monday again.”
She said she is hopeful for a victory though and that this year’s season so far has proven they have good odds of beating the long streak.
“We feel it this year. I feel it. I just think the energy at our school is ready for a victory. Our football team is ready,” Riden-Bacon said. “You go in with a positive attitude and you’re going to win and nothing less, so that’s what we expect. We expect to go beat D-B.”
The game will start at 7:30 tonight at J. Fred Johnson Stadium in Kingsport.