On Friday, August 23, 2019, I decided to drive an hour down to Georgetown, KY to take a trip down memory lane. This the town I went to high school in from 2011 to 2015 and visited the first-ever cross-town rivalry, named the Battle of the Birds, between the Scott County Cardinals and the Great Crossing Warhawks. It was also a beautiful Friday night for high school football, low to mid 60’s, the first instance that fall is coming. Great Crossing High School had just opened for its first week of classes, with a few things that needed to be completed, but still, it was a rather massive building. The new football field named, “The Birds Nest,” was ready and the place was more than packed for this special occasion. Many people ended up standing, including myself, but to me, it was rather cool to see big crowds for both schools and to see both bands even show up. This game didn’t feel like a “UofL vs UK” rivalry game where there is bragging rights or this tension among the teams and fans, thank goodness there wasn’t. It felt like a sense of community, two schools coming together. Even when I was a student at Scott County, there was so much discussion over a second high school. This game made a great statement with the direction Scott County and Great Crossing wanted to go in. What helped was that half of the 2,800 students from Scott County transferred to Great Crossing. So everyone still knew each other in some sort of way.
To put into perspective, I graduated with about 600 people in a school of 2,800. Georgetown, Kentucky is a growing town thanks to the massive Toyota plant that opened there in the 1980s, which has given back to the area in terms of education, population and business opportunities. Great Crossing High School didn’t break ground until a couple of years after I left for college. The discussion of a second high school has been taking place for, from what some have said, about 20 years.
On to the game, a lot of juniors and seniors stayed put with Coach Jim McKee’s Cardinals, while many of the freshmen and sophomores transferred to the new school. Scott County also has a great football history, spending a lot of years contending for the state title and winning the Class 6A Championship when I was a junior in late 2013. Also, under McKee, they made the state title game in 2004, 2011, 2013 and 2018. A lot of people got there early, very early for the game. I got there about a half-hour before kickoff and I couldn’t believe my eyes to already see the place packed! I ended up standing behind the Scott County band, that I was once a part of, at the top of the bleachers. A new era had started in Georgetown and I think it’s going to be great for the community for years to come. On the other side were the Scott County fans, students, and the bench while on the main side were mainly Great Crossing fans, the two high school bands and anyone else that could find room in the Birds Nest. The game opened with an onside by Great Crossing with Scott County scoring on the opening drive thanks to Bronson Brown. From there, Scott County dominated the entire game with Philip Garner scoring four first-half touchdowns. Great Crossing was a brand-new team, but the Warhawks had some good moments in the game too. Including a great pass play that would set up the only Warhawks touchdown in the game. However, I couldn’t help but cheer when they scored because of how special it was. The place erupted, even I saw Scott County’s band cheer a bit. Not to mention how both bands were supportive of each other. Both bands played the National Anthem and even the halftime show with 80’s hits including the song Africa by Toto. The final score was 72-7 Scott County winning.
From my perspective, it felt weird. When I graduated just four years ago from high school. This was all a huge grassy area behind the career tech school, Elkhorn Crossing School. It felt strange, that so much had changed, and it hasn’t been that long since I graduated and moved out. I loved watching the football team when I was in high school and I was always playing and marching on the field of Georgetown College’s Toyota Stadium, where Scott County had played previously. Georgetown and Scott County will always have a special place in my heart, but I feel like if Great Crossing is playing anyone else that isn’t Scott County, I will find myself cheering for them as well. This is good for the town 15 minutes from Lexington, KY. People always talk about Trinity, St. Xavier and Male in Louisville as well as Lexington Catholic or Henry Clay down in Lexington. Don’t overlook Scott County and in a few years, I believe Great Crossing will get better and you will see both schools create something big that Georgetown will look forward to. Nights like these are what make high school football fun and this game even made me feel like I was in high school again. Knowing me, I will come back down to Georgetown and see SCHS and GCHS play again.
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