There was no “ESPN” present, there was no live television broadcast and there were no giant blow-up tunnels, but there was the “Great American Rivalry Series Presented by Air Force” in Waynesville last weekend to cover the heated North Carolina rivalry game between Tuscola and Pisgah. The town was abuzz we were there. Tucked deep in the Smoky Mountains, the crosstown rivalry between these two schools was set to be a showdown. It was a cold rainy night and kick-off was set for 7:30pm, but by 4pm the stands were half full, the band was warming up and fans were finding seats closest to the action. This rivalry had been going on since 1966, but last Friday was the night to showcase this contest to the country. It was a night to shine the spotlight on one of the Smoky Mountain’s biggest secrets and to make the Air Force a prominent and key part of the night. Tuscola’s Athletic Director Mike Sutton said it best when he commented, “I consider my life complete except for the fact that I never beat Pisgah.” For the community of Waynesville, this rivalry means more than just a typical win or a loss. Local citizens take a lot of pride in these teams for their excellence both on and off the field, and this game becomes a rite of passage. Regardless of the outcome, though, fans support the kids with an enormous amount of enthusiasm. But everyone remembers who wins and who loses.


Tyler Brosius


Graham Reece Fisher


Tuscola’s scholarship winner is senior Graham Reece Fisher, son of Philip and Joyce Fisher. Graham is a three-year starter on the varsity football team and was All-County as a sophomore, All-Conference as a junior, and named Honorable Mention to the All-Western North Carolina team as a junior. Graham carries a 4.0 GPA and is a member of the National Honor Society.
Hunter Webb


Pisgah’s scholarship winner is Hunter Webb, son of Mike Webb and Darlene Silver. Hunter is a two-year letterman on the varsity football team and a four-year letterman in baseball. As a senior, he is leader on and off the field. He has a 4.08 GPA, is a member of the National Honor Society, and plans to study emergency and disaster management in college.


That evening the game had an intense start, with both teams coming out with fire in their eyes. But this year's battle on the gridiron between two historic rivals was meant to be the Tuscola Mountaineers' chance to shine. Led by senior quarterback Tyler Brosius, Tuscola went to the air to light up the scoreboard. They took the lead and never looked back. The final score: 41-10. The Air Force was highly involved throughout the event and was even welcomed to take part in some of the game's unique traditions. Doug, a proud Tuscola fan, invited Air Force and Rivalry Series' staff to his free tailgate where he served bear meat and pig meat from Spain. Later during the game, Sgt Flack was invited to serve as an Honorary Captain and execute the coin toss before kickoff. Between quarters, thousands of students and fans went wild and screamed for the Air Force as recruiters tossed t-shirts into the stands. By the end, it was apparent everyone was thrilled to have the Air Force and Great American Rivalry Series as a part of their town's rivalry and many expressed hopes we would return next year.