South Forsyth principal Jason Branch says the excitement surrounding his high school's football game tonight with North Forsyth is to be expected.
"Anytime you have a crosstown county rivalry, the kids get excited," Branch said. "The kids of each school have grown up with each other and have known each other for a long time, so they're excited to get out there and compete Friday night."
North principal Beth Hebert agreed.
"These kids are getting pumped up about the game," she said. "We're planning big double pep rallies [today]. This rivalry is a long-standing one, unlike the one with West."
The Raiders opened the season against West Forsyth, a second-year school that competes in Class AAA and which was built, in part, to relieve crowding at North and South.
North and South may be older in-county rivals, but tonight's game in Coal Mountain also has significance in Region 7-AAAAA, where both teams stand at 1-2 and are scrapping to make the playoffs.
“Absolutely, we need to win this game in order to keep any hopes of postseason play alive,” said South coach Wendell Early.
The War Eagles have won the last four meetings between the two, both of which are coming off their bye week.
North coach Jared Zito thinks the squads match up evenly.
“I think we are similar in talent and both teams are coached well,” he said.
North student Brittany Selman said students will dress in all black to garner school spirit, as they did for the game against West in August.
"It's a big deal," Selman said. "Students do get pretty excited about it. Just like they do with all the school's rivalry games."
Former South Forsyth student Jonathan Welsch said "students just go crazy during these kind of games."
A 2008 graduate, Welsch fondly recalls previous North-South meetings.
"Some people would paint their faces and bodies for the North and South game," Welsch said. "It's important for a lot of students at both schools."
Branch said it's important to keep school spirit alive.
"We have spirit day every Friday no matter who we're playing," Branch said. "They're kids, so they're not hard to excite on something like this."
Staff Writer BJ Corbitt contributed to this report.