Lakeside linemen practice for their upcoming game against Evans under the direction of coach Jimmy Smith. lakeside and Evans will square off at Blanchard Stadium on Friday, Sept. 13, for the first time since 1999.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
The majority of players on the Evans and Lakeside high school football teams have never met in a varsity game, but the Panthers and Knights can finally get acquainted this week.
When the squads square off Friday night at Evans, it will be the first meeting between the Columbia County rivals since the 1999 season.
"We've been building up for this game. Our intensity will be at a pretty high point," said Evans senior lineman Jacob Filiatreau, who was a freshmen when Evans routed Lakeside 41-7 in '99.
The Evans-Lakeside football game was an annual war during the 1990s. After the teams moved to different classifications for the 2000 season, scheduling conflicts arose and the gridiron grudge match was temporarily shelved.
Without that significant contest on the slate, something was missing from the county football scene.
"There's nothing like the Lakeside-Evans game, with all your friends there and a packed stadium," Panther senior running back Johnny Los said. "We grew up with all those guys at Evans, and we're friends with them. That's what makes this a great game."
Los has been a fan of the series, and now he'll experience the excitement first hand - and he already knows what to expect. "I think they're feeling the same way we are - ready to come out and kill."
Past results from Evans-Lakeside football games
1990: 35-13, Evans
1991: 20-12, Evans
1992: 31-31, tie
1993: 36-7, Evans
1994: 31-24, Lakeside
1995: 32-0, Evans
1996: 21-13, Evans
1997: 23-16, Lakeside
1998: 33-19, Evans
1999: 41-7, Evans
Evans leads series 7-2-1
Some things never change.
"The rivalry hasn't gone down at all," Evans senior linebacker Stephen Stegall said. "There definitely will be some trash talking in that game."
But, why wait until game time?
"I hear talk from other schools, you know, 'You can't beat Evans,"' Lakeside senior Clarence Middleton said. "The thing that drives us is that we want to beat Evans. To be honest, we haven't beaten them in a while. I think this time we're going to come out and prove that we can go nose-to-nose with Evans and beat them on their own turf."
Obviously, a three-year absence doesn't make the heart grow fonder.
"I have a lot of respect for Evans, but there is still a rivalry," Lakeside coach Randy Hill said. "There's a hatred there, and what happened this year didn't help."
Hill and his players are still peeved about the off-season transfer of Steven Rogers. As a junior last year, Rogers was a record-setting receiver with the Panthers, but he made a bee-line to Blanchard Stadium and now suits up with the Knights.
Another former Lakeside player, Ki-Chang Ho, also is wearing black and gold this season. Ho lives in the Evans school zone, but attended Lakeside last year so he could take a special language class.
Rogers and Ho had solid debuts in the Knights Aug. 30 season-opener at Greenbrier High School.
During a 43-26 loss to the Wolfpack, Rogers recorded a 90-yard touchdown return on a kickoff, and Ho rushed for 114 yards, despite sitting out almost the entire second half with cramps.
Prep athletes changing schools is not uncommon, but when the switch involves Lakeside and Evans - especially in football - there are bound to be hard feelings.
"If the rivalry lost anything, when we got Rogers and Ho it added fuel to the fire," Evans coach Lee Chomskis said. "That's two more reasons (for Lakeside) to hate us, and that's OK. We're looking forward to playing them. The kids are very excited about it."
That goes double for Lakeside.
"Some of my seniors are pretty disappointed about what went on, and it left a bad taste in their mouth," Hill said. "When you have players transfer, the rest of the team feels like that's a slap in their face. They're adamant about getting revenge."
As the Panthers prepare for Friday's 7:30 p.m. kickoff, Hill will remind his team that Lakeside always has had a hard time beating Evans in football.
In fact, he'll toss as many barbs as possible, all designed to instill additional loathing for the Knights.
"Yes, definitely. Any angle you can pick," Hill said.
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