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Best of the best
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    When I started this gig as an intern in the summer of 2004, I hadn’t ever fathomed I’d visit some of the places I have. Luckily for me, I love a good road trip, discovering new towns and taking in the little traditions of Friday night football in southern Georgia. Of course, I haven’t been everywhere, but I thought it might be fun to take a survey of some of the best of the best of my experiences.

Best Stadium: Booster Stadium, Toombs Co.
    It seems a few millions years ago a meteor the size of a football field landed in northern Toombs County. As the city of Lyons sprung up around it, the folks built Toombs County High School and carved a football stadium out of this geographical anomaly.
    Okay maybe all that’s not exactly true. But Booster Stadium, or ‘The Pit’ as it’s affectionately known, has to be the coolest stadium I’ve been too. Stone bleachers are embedded in to the home and visitor size, as a small hill encompasses the entire playing field.
    The Bulldogs run through a tunnel through the hill at the south end zone, while smoke from the grills of the concession stand trickle down from the north end. Even the marching band has their own enclave of stone seats at the end of the stadium.

Best Nickname: Tattnall Co. Battle Creek Warriors
    I’ve never visited Johnson High (AtomSmashers) or Cairo (SyrupMakers), so the best local team I’ve seen with the best nickname is Tattnall County. These radicals of Reidsville chose a name to fit their history and local culture. I applaud them.
    Other schools in the area should have been as inventive. But I fear it’s already too late. Just think, Brooklet could have had its Southeast Bulloch Peanuts, Portal its Fightin’ Turpentines (Turps for short) and Claxton its Fightin’ Fruitcakes.

Best Student Section: Statesboro

    An Honorable Mention goes to Effingham County and the aforementioned Toombs County kids, but first place goes to Statesboro. ‘Womack’s Warriors’ are by far the feistiest bunch of numskulls in the area.
    I remember a playoff game a few years ago against Bainbridge. As the Bearcats warmed-up prior to kickoff, the SHS students began arriving in droves and giving the BHS boys all they could handle. Bainbridge began to focus more on the heckling than the task at hand. The game was over before it even started.

Best Fans: Portal
    Sitting in a press box, I often times look below me and take in the sights and sounds of a good crowd. When I thought about this category, I was surprised when Portal was the first thought in my head.
    The Panther faithful aren’t large in numbers, but the ones that do show up are usually on the edge of their seat with every play. In small towns, football can mean the world to folks, and PHS is no exception.
    I also take heart to the blue-and-white fanatics because there’s hardly an air of tension at the Portal Athletic Complex. Sure Portal wants to see its home town team win, but they’d also like to have a good time with family and friends, showing the visitors what Portal is all about.

Best Facilities: Vidalia
    If you’ve yet to make your way to Vidalia and check out the new digs for the Indians (who by the way should be called the Fightin’ Onions), do your self a favor and head down highway 280 for a quick looksie.
    This place is pretty ridiculous. For a AA school, Vidalia is the toast of South Georgia. With chairbacks seats, a video board, brand new press box and a field house they call ‘The Tepee’, Vidalia is pretty first class when it comes to football. ‘The Tepee’ holds a weight room, meeting room, training room and coaches offices. You can take the elevator if you need to get upstairs.
    Oh yeah, there’s also eight luxury boxes on the second floor of ‘The Tepee’ — They’re Just $20,000.

Best Halftime: Screven County
    A tradition unlike any I’ve seen in these parts, is the funky, off the hook, wilin’ out moves of the Screven County High School mascot during halftime at Kelly Memorial Stadium in Sylvania.
    After the traditional pomp-and-circumstance halftime show by the SCHS marching band, the red-and-white drumline steps to the home sideline, puts down a hard beat, and lets the chicken do its thing. Its about as good as it gets

Best Kept Secret: Claxton
    Chances are not many people know about Claxton’s Bell Memorial Stadium. Set a few blocks off the main road, in your good ol’ fashion hometown neighborhood, Bell Memorial is as picturesque a little stadium as you’ll find.
    Nicknamed ‘The Pecan Grove’, Bell Memorial is a three-sided stadium with stone bleachers in a U-shape, along with a fieldhouse that encloses the entire field. Large oak trees surround the facility, and the water stains on the old stone make you feel as though you’ve stepped back in time.
    Chicken fingers in the press box isn’t a bad touch either.