Blue or Red: Choose your side
“It’s Blue-Red. This is the Rutherford County rivalry,” Brad Hutchins said with the conviction of someone who has longed since chosen his side of the fence. “This is the way it’s always been. It’s the way that you’re raised because you either grow up in Rutherfordton or you grow up in Forest City. It’s always been Hatfields and McCoys, Blue-Red.”
Hutchins graduated in 1998 and is now on the faculty at R-S Central High, so he is steeped in the tradition and knows what he is talking about.
Hutchins is also part of the football coaching staff and has drilled the fundamentals into youngsters for almost a decade. Now the spotlight falls on him.
Hutchins was recruited to serve as the head coach and resident genius of this ambitious group of former gridiron greats, a role that he felt very comfortable in. Thursday afternoon, everything changed.
“We had a guy call in sick, our starter, and we don’t have anyone else to go on a days notice, so it’s me,” Hutchins said.
And with that, Hutchins is the new starting quarterback and head coach. For a career lineman tight end, this should be a dream come true, but Hutchins seems a bit anxious.
“I’m a little nervous but excited. I’ve coached enough and I know what I ask of the kids but now it’s time for me to do what I say,” Hutchins said. “Wish me luck.”
Hutchins has been throwing out routes and go’s for years as a wide receivers coach, but tonight the stakes will a bit higher and the defense will be live.
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“It’s a fundraiser and this is an alumni game so we’re out here to have a good time and relive some stuff but we’ve all got to protect ourselves,” Hutchins said. “I’ve got a 2-year-old, a wife and 21 years before retirement.”
There are challenges to playing football and quarterback is considered to be the most difficult postion on the team so Hutchins has his work cut out for him. He believes that the Hilltoppers are ready, even with him at quarterback.
“We’ve got a smorgasbord of talent and getting them in there is going to be the tricky part for us.”
One of those talented weapons is No. 22 Rakiem ‘Rock’ Carson, a 2006 graduate that appears to have spent the last seven years in the gym. Whereas many of the other players seem to have long since given up daily exercise, Rock is, well, a rock.
“Where my name is suppose to be it’s going to read Speed Kills,” Rock said smiling.
The 20-something good-natured and talking a little pregame hype, but there is edge about him. He wants to play.
“They don’t know what we got. I believe that we are evenly matched but they may have the upper hand since they’ve already played a game,” he said.
Pushed to give a prediction the brash running back replied, “I don’t believe that we’re going to lose. They got to stop me first.”
It’s just for fun but it is still Blue-Red and that always means something.