Watkins’ family, friends descend on Death Valley
Saturday’s Clemson-South Carolina State matchup may not have garnered much national attention, but it definitely achieved game of week status for the Watkins family.
Approximately 30 friends and family members joined Chad and Monica Watkins in Clemson’s Death Valley to watch their sons Carlos and Tray face one another.
“Everybody’s pretty excited right now,” said Chad Watkins before the game. “This kind of thing does not happen very often so I’m going to enjoy it.”
Monica Watkins had the exact opposite reaction.
“I hate the idea of my boys playing against each other,” she said. “They have always worked together as a team. Now somebody’s going to win and somebody’s going to lose. I’m excited for them, but I’m a nervous wreck.”
For Carlos and Tray’s high school coach, Daniel Bailey, the day is all about pride.
“When Tray decided to commit to South Carolina State, we knew this day was coming,” he said. “I won’t say that it was deciding reason Tray went, but it was a big reason. The chance to play against your brother is special,”
“It’s a special day for Chase High School and for me as a coach,” Bailey continued. “It makes me so proud to know that I had the opportunity to coach such fine young men.”
While family and friends are proud of the brothers, the game does present a unique situation — who to root for.
“I want both teams to do well,” said Chad Watkins. “I want both Carlos and Tray to do well, but most of all I’m hoping for no injuries and fun game.”
Bailey is not as diplomatic.
“I want them both to play great, but I told Tray I was rooting for South Carolina State to pull the upset,” Bailey said. “When I told Carlos to beware of a trap game, especially after the big Georgia win, he laughed at me.”
For Monica Watkins, she would rather forego football and spend time with her sons.
“I’m going to wear a ‘house divided’ shirt to show my support for them, but I’m more interested in visiting with them after the game,” she said. “I want to hear about their studies and their girlfriends. I’ll leave the football to the boys and their dad. I guess that’s just a maternal thing.”
The brothers met at midfield after a 52-13 Tiger win and shared a postgame handshake and hug. While Tray did not see any action, Carlos recorded a quarterback pressure and a tackle for loss.
“It was everything I expected it to be,” said Bailey. “It was a fun game and a great atmosphere. It was strange not to see them in the same uniform, but overall it was a great day.”
Monica Watkins agrees.
“We are so blessed to have had all these people come and support Tray and Carlos,” she said. “The community has really gotten behind us and people I don’t even know have been congratulating me on facebook. It’s wonderful.”
Clemson and South Carolina State play again next season, so Carlos and Tray will face each other at least once more time in their career.
No doubt, the Watkins’ family and friends will once again descend on Death Valley. Bailey may have put it best.
“Everybody is pretty happy right now,” he said. “But the best part is we get to do it again next year.”