Evans High School junior Ben Lewis, silenced with a piece of tape, watches Saturday's game against Lakeside.
Photo by Mike Howell
The last time the Evans and Lakeside high school basketball teams squared off, the on-court action was overshadowed by the antics in the stands.
That Dec. 6 contest at Evans High School featured some coarse chants from the student sections, and the bawdy behavior sparked public criticism from followers of both schools.
When the teams met again last weekend at Lakeside, the fans toned down their act.
Both sides exhibited restraint, as the Lakeside and Evans faithful were content with cheering for the players instead of jeering each other.
"It got vulgar last time, and we don't need that," Evans boys coach Kevin Kenny said after the non-eventful rematch. "There's no place for nastiness."
The day after the controversial first meeting between the rival schools, Evans Principal Don Brigdon laid down the law, warning his students that inappropriate behavior at future games would not be tolerated.
The Evans fans responded to the edict, with one keeping his mouth in check Saturday night with a strip of duct tape.
Many of the Evans students arrived at the game dressed to kill. One even sported a tuxedo, but his clogs kind of spoiled the effect.
The spiffy attire was sparked by feedback from the infamous first game, when a reader of the Columbia County News-Times wrote a letter to the editor accusing Evans of being a redneck school. The writer was so upset by what she witnessed at the Dec. 6 game, she referred to the offending fans as "Evans trash."
A couple of Evans folks took that comment to heart, showing up at Lakeside wearing garbage bags, with "EHS Trash" and "Evans Trash" scrawled on the front.
Lakeside Principal Jeff Carney, meanwhile, wasn't taking any chances last weekend. Carney kept a close eye on things, and used a walkie talkie to communicate with security personnel throughout the game.
The students obviously heeded the warnings from their respective principals - there were no insulting chants from either side, although an air horn was confiscated.
Also, a Lakeside fan arrived with a sign which read, "Your mommas clean our houses," which quickly disappeared from the scene.
That supposed class rivalry seems to be the basis for the battle, with Lakeside being considered the rich school, and Evans falling into the working-class category.
Those stereotypes helped fuel the raunchy chants at the earlier Lakeside-Evans game, and at many other athletic events between the schools since Lakeside opened in 1988.
While the back-and-forth was relatively tame last weekend, some things will never change.
"The Lakeside kids poke fun at the Evans kids and vice versa. I don't think it's anything malicious, though," Lady Panthers coach Bill Richey said. "The kids from both schools want to just come out and have a good time. That's great as long as things don't get out of hand."
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