Take the instance of Easley vs. Daniel. Only a stretch of Calhoun Memorial Highway separates the schools, and most football games between the schools are competitive.
But Easley has not won a game in the series since Eric Meekins — who would become a starter for the Clemson Tigers during his college years — led the team to a 27-9 win during his senior season in 1997.
That game, played at Singleton Field, was Easley’s only win during the Allen Sitterle years at Daniel.
To find Easley’s last win at home against Daniel, you have to go back to a classic matchup: Easley’s Larry Bagwell against Daniel’s Dickie Singleton.
Bagwell won the final meeting between the two coaches, defeating Daniel 14-10 in 1988.
But Bagwell lost his final game to Daniel in 1989, falling 26-6.
Since then, Daniel has won 13 out of 14 games against the Green Wave.
Yet while the series has been one-sided in victories, it has been more equal in individual games.
Last year Daniel won easily 35-0, but in 2008, the Lions edged the Green Wave 21-18.
That year Easley finished 0-11 for the regular season, while Daniel finished the regular season undefeated and made it to the Upstate semi-finals in the AAA playoffs.
This year Easley comes in with a 1-0 record, a new coach and a new attitude. Many fans who have watched practices noted that Coach Chad Smith limited his hand during last week’s game against West-Oak, perhaps hoping the Green Wave would have new plays to show tonight against the Lions.
Zach Lappin was 0-2 for passes against West-Oak, but once the Green Wave had the game in hand, running the ball and taking time off the clock pretty much eliminated the need for passes.
Lappin and his receivers did shine in many of the pre-season scrimmages.
Smith said that ideally his teams would pass every fifth play, but if the situation calls for more conservative play calls, he had no problems with not attempting a pass during a game.
On the other hand, Smith says he is very comfortable with Lappin passing, and will not hesitate to put his talents to use if that is what is needed for the Green Wave to win a game.
Easley’s defense is the home of much of the team speed, with no player running the 40-yard dash any slower than 5.0 seconds.
Last week Trevin Franklin stood out, running a kickoff return back for a touchdown, then scoring another touchdown on an interception.
Franklin, who played quarterback last season while Lappin was injured, is a threat every time he walks onto the football field.
“They want to know where Trevin is when he walks on the field,” Smith said. “At the same time, often his plays are set up because other people on our defense are doing their jobs. It’s a team effort that can make guys like Trevin shine.”
Daniel will be starting one of the strangest football season in the history of the state. Because the Lions’ stadium has been destroyed to make room for the new Daniel High School, this season eight of the ten regular-season games will be “road” games.
The word “road” is in quote marks because the two home games — against Westside and against Belton-Honea Path — will be played at Brice Field in Easley, site of tonight’s “road” game for the Lions.
The Lions, for the past two decades, have been pretty good regardless of whether they played at home or on the road.
Daniel comes into tonight’s game with a 27-game regular season winning streak that dates back to a loss to Westside in 2007.
Quarterback Tevin Robinson lead the Lions offensively. Coach Randy Robinson promises his quarterback will have plenty of chances to throw the ball this year.
If the air attack doesn’t work, the Lions still have running backs C.J. Davidson and William Wingard return to give the Lions a steady ground attack.
The Lions defense returns most of a squad that held opponents to just 42 points in 10 regular season games last season. Included in the returning players is Clemson commitment DeShawn Williams.
Kickoff for tonight’s game is set for 7:30 p.m.