FRIENDS & FORES: High school rivals take to the links

Apr. 25, 2014 @ 06:28 PM

It was evident that the Hillside-Southern rivalry is out of context when a Hillside supporter backed out of contributing to a fundraiser upon finding out that the beneficiaries would be Southern kids, Southern golf coach Van Miles said.

Hillside golf coach Gordon Matthewson on Thursday at Hillandale Golf Course wanted to know what makes that so much different from a gang mentality.

The points scored weren’t the focus when Hillside and Southern practiced together at Hillandale. It was about the pointers, Hornets and Spartans helping each other on the golf course, foreign territory for most of them prior to high school.

Hornets and Spartans are known for handing their business on football fields and basketball courts, where their rivalry has simmered for decades.

It’s a different story on the fairways and greens. The two schools actually need each other out there, making the gentleman’s game of golf the perfect sport to bring some much-needed civility to the Hillside-Southern rivalry, Miles and Matthewson said.

“It’s good to be competitors on the field of play, but outside the field of play, they’ve got to come together,” Miles said.

Just imagine the mighty sound on a Friday night of football if the historically strong marching bands from Southern and Hillside joined their horns and drums, Matthewson said.

Both Hillside and Southern could use some help with fundraising, and it would make all the sense in the world for the two schools to collaborate toward that end, Miles said.

But the rivalry …

“We have to put our kids first,” Miles said.

Southern golfer Xavier Smith said all of that sounds good, but it’d be a tough sell back on campus.

It’s the grownups, Southern freshman Armani Williams said. They’re the ones who take the rivalry to that unhealthy next level, he said.

“I’ve seen it,” Hillside golfer DeAnna Thompson said.

Thompson is a Hillside cheerleader, too, and said she tends to notice the police presence more at Hillside-Southern games.

“You notice it more because you can feel the tension,” Thompson said.

“Do you notice any security out here?” said Miles, chilling in a golf cart.

Southern golfer James Taylor is also the starting fullback for the Spartans football team that won the 3-A championship last season.

Taylor said he’s OK being pals with Hillside’s golfers.

But Hornets in football helmets? Taylor said he can’t stand them.

“I can’t let it go,” Taylor said. “I just don’t like Hillside.”