Fighting among friends: PRC’s side of the rivalry

Published 7:00 am Thursday, November 5, 2015

Pearl River Central School District Superintendent Alan Lumpkin, a former PRC varsity basketball and baseball player, can still rattle off the times his Blue Devils took down the Picayune Maroon Tide in those contests.

“What made it so special was we were hanging out on the weekends and then we were playing against each other. We still talk about those games today,” Lumpkin said. “Being a former basketball coach, rivalries are special at a lot of different schools and they all have their uniqueness. Our kids grow up together playing on the same summer league teams and youth organizations, but when we went to high school, we competed against each other.”

Because of the close proximity of the two schools, some graduates of Picayune end up marrying somebody from PRC and vice versa, Lumpkin said.  There are also Picayune graduates who have kids at PRC and PRC graduates have kids at Picayune.

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You have families and cousins competing against each other, whether it be a niece cheering and a nephew in the band, Lumpkin said.

One of the special aspects of this rivalry is the way in which it brings the community together, Lumpkin said.

“People will be at this game that have not attended any games this year—this is a community event. It’s a great opportunity for PRC and Picayune to show off what our public schools have to offer. You will see outstanding bands, cheerleaders, dance teams and the Peppers Pep Squad,” Lumpkin said. “What sets this game apart is that people go off to college but they make sure they’re back for the game and if they’re not, they’re following on the radio or social media.”

Both schools will be sure to do a lot of tailgating before the game, but a lot of the local churches have 5th quarter lock-ins where all those players competing against each other will get to socialize together and worship together after, said Lumpkin. When the horn goes off and the competition of the football game is over, all of the students will come together and some will even be sitting in the same pew on Sunday, he said.

Come Friday, Lumpkin will surely be in the stands supporting PRC.

“Once we get past playing each other, you see us really unite. But Friday night, I will be wearing my blue, rooting on the Devils, I’m as blue as you can get. And whoever goes to Oxford, we’re all gonna be behind each other. We feel that we’re on the same level now as Picayune in football.”