by David Fatzinger
50 years of history, stories, and great football were celebrated at Grimsley High School in Greensboro NC at the annual Great American Rivalry Series game between Page High School and Grimsley High School. And as the clock wound down to the end of the game, the scoreboard declared a familiar storyline, another Page victory. The Page Pirates, led by Great American Rivalry Series Most Valuable Player Thuc Phan’s three touchdown runs, took the fiftieth installment of the rivalry by a final score of 41-20 and took a commanding overall series lead of 38-12-3 with the win Friday night.
The game started with both teams determined to win and emotions running high. “We knew Grimsley was going to come out with a lot of emotion, so we tried to hit them in the mouth first,” Page quarterback James Summers said. And that is just what they did, scoring two touchdowns in their first four offensive plays of the game on a Summers’ touchdown pass and a Phan 14 yard run. But the game was far from over, with Grimsley scoring on their next two offensive possessions. As the game moved closer to halftime, the nearly 8,000 fans in the stadium started to believe that the 1-5 Grimsley Whirlies might pull the upset and beat the 5-1 Page Pirates. But with just over 3:00 to go in the half, Summers hit junior Orlando Hatfield for his second touchdown of the first half, giving the Pirates a 21-14 lead at the half.
But the game’s biggest plays were made by special teams on each side, as the game produced a total of five blocked kicks including two blocked punts by Grimsley junior Kevin Walton. The blocked kicks kept Grimsley in the game throughout the first half and into the second until Summers and Phan took over the game. Summers led the Pirate offense with four touchdown passes and Phan had 118 yards rushing and two touchdowns running. He also caught a 32 yard touchdown pass from Summers with 2:00 to go in the third quarter and gave the Pirates great field position throughout the night with nearly 100 return yards.
It was the Pirates’ stifling defense that made the big difference, allowing only one successful second half scoring attempt, an 81-yard touchdown pass from freshman quarterback Jake Simpson to Travon Woods with just over 2:00 to play in the game. The Pirates defense was dominant in the trenches all night long, holding the Whirlies to minus 38 yards on 21 rushes throughout the night.
When the clock ticked to zero on Friday night, Page Head Coach Kevin Gillespie walked out onto the field to shake the hand of Grimsley Head Coach Damon Coiro while his team celebrated along the fence line with their classmates. And as they celebrated and embraced, Coach Gillespie brought his team back onto the field and asked them to take a knee. Amongst the smiles and the high fives, Thuc Phan received his MVP Trophy from US Marine GySgt Jasper King and Coach Gillespie received the Great American Rivalry Series Championship Trophy from US Marine SSgt Angel Santos. And as Coach Gillespie, Phan, and the rest of the Pirates celebrated into the night, fans and family members came onto the field and wished all the players and coaches congratulations and Happy Anniversary.
Happy Anniversary Pirates, thanks for the memory, and see you next year.
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- Page vs Grimsley – 2010