By Bob Sutton
Special to The Alamance News
As neighboring schools, Eastern Alamance and newcomer Southeast Alamance are bound to be sports rivals.
This goes up a notch with Friday night’s football meeting at Southeast.
“I’m pretty sure the whole town of Mebane will be there,” Eastern defensive end Javontae Poteat said.
This might be the biggest gathering in Haw River since … at least the last time all eight lanes of I-40/85 were backed up in both directions.
The new Southeast district includes parts of what was Eastern’s district. Others in the Southeast district have splintered off from Southern Alamance, which is a primary rival of Eastern and thus those ties and tensions might still exist if not in different forms.
T-shirts have been sold dubbing the game the “Beast of the East” – in reference to that side of Alamance County – with both teams’ helmets featured.
“Hope it hypes it up a little bit,” Southeast athletics director B.J. Condron said.
Southeast coach Tony Aguilar’s wife, Kim Aguilar, was involved in the T-shirt design. There are two versions of the T-shirts, with those reflecting the respective school colors.
Tony Aguilar was an assistant coach for two decades at Eastern before four seasons as Eastern Guilford’s head coach. He has bonds with the Eagles’ coaching staff and the community.
“It will be weird,” he said. “I’m at the point that I don’t know any of the kids (on Eastern’s team). None of those current players played for me, so there’s not that awkwardness.”
Yet because rising seniors at Eastern have been permitted to remain Eastern students for the coming school year, some families in the newly-formed district have students at both schools.
Southeast’s Booster Club sold out of Stallions apparel by last week and was hoping to have the stock of available school gear replenished by the end of this week.
Eastern Alamance (1-0), which has been a recent Class 3-A power, would have to be considered a huge favorite in this football matchup against a Southeast team consisting mostly of underclassmen. The Eagles aren’t likely to be in a gracious mood despite the historical backdrop of their new neighbors’ first home football game.
“A new program, they’re pulling pieces from all sides,” Poteat said. “We’re not giving them an easy time no matter the circumstances. We’re trying to win the game.”
Regardless of the outcome, Southeast (0-1) figures to benefit if the bleachers are packed.
“That will probably fund their athletic department for the whole year,” said John Kirby, the football coach and athletics director at Eastern.
The schools met last week in season-opening, non-conference competitions. Southeast won in boys’ soccer and Eastern prevailed in volleyball.