Cougars draw inspiration from Orange & Blue Crew

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Carson football team has already surpassed expectations.
A huge home win against West Rowan on Oct. 4 left many stunned. China Grove is still buzzing with excitement, and another South Piedmont Conference win was placed in the books with Friday’s dominating performance against neighbor South Rowan.
With new head football coach Joe Pinyan, it is easy to find the root of the Cougars’ success, but another huge part of the football team’s success is not an individual, but the student section. That student section, known as the Orange and Blue Crew, has showed up this year in full force. For the South game, the theme of the student section was “Pink Out.” Breast Cancer Awareness month is October, but the game also meant more due to a student at Carson who is currently battling cancer. Ashley Smith is fighting Sarcoma, which is a cancer that develops from certain tissues. The Carson Relay for Life team has done a fantastic job of supporting Ashley and showing her the whole student body cares about her health.
The student section was full of pink and spirit for the Cougars on Friday. With a record number of participants and chants yelled throughout the game, it’s not hard to see the loyalty of the students. The student section has already this year been a part of wins over West, East Rowan, South, Salisbury and Mount Pleasant.
The Cougar football team is giving the students something to yell about — that’s for sure. In years past, the Orange and Blue Crew has been present at the games. However, it’s different this year. The student section and the football team have been brought closer together. Dylan Snider, a senior leader of the Orange and Blue Crew said, “I feel honored to be able to lead this year’s student section. We help the team feel hype in tight situations. It’s great to cheer the guys on to victory.”
Nail-biting victories against West, East, Salisbury, and Mount Pleasant are examples of how the student section never fails to cheer on the team until the buzzer sounds. The student section has even charged the field after a few big victories.
After last week’s win against West, the Orange and Blue Crew was able to gather around the team and hear what Pinyan had to say. The buzz surrounding the win and the inspiration from Pinyan’s speech left a thrill in the air. It was a moment in which the Orange and Blue Crew and the football team were a part of history.
Another senior, Wil Holshouser said, “It feels good being able to be a leader and to know that I am in charge of getting everyone pumped for the game. We definitely have more spirit and a lot more students than what we have had in years past.”
The student section can cheer all night, but it only makes an impact if the football team has a positive reaction to that support. In the victory against South, Carson used the famous “hook and ladder”play. During the second quarter, senior quarterback Austin McNeill made a pass to sophomore receiver Brandon Huneycutt. A South Rowan Raider immediately moved in for the tackle, but the play was not over just yet. Huneycutt flicked the ball to junior Darren Isom, who ran for a touchdown. Then kicker Logan Correll easily executed the PAT with 31.8 seconds left before halftime to make it 28-0.
Plays such as that are not common and the reaction by the student section was phenomenal. This year the students have started to throw baby powder into the air after every play on which the Cougars score. Baby powder was definitely launched into the air after the amazing flick by Honeycutt to Isom. The football team was motioning for the student section to get even louder, and that order was obeyed.
“The student section sets the tone for the game,” McNeill said. “ They help the team get into the game. The Orange and Blue Crew has not been as involved in the previous years. The extra support and back up this year has made a difference.”
Student sections are designed to make a difference and to show support for the team whether it’s a great win — or a heartbreaking loss. Senior linebacker Myquon Stout, who can easily make the student section erupt after getting a crucial quarterback sack, said, “The student section keeps the team energized. It’s been good to watch it grow over the years.”
Stout was just announced this week as a Shrine Bowl selection. He feels that it is a “great opportunity and he is very blessed.” He is the first from Carson to be chosen for the prestigious all-star game. For the student section to have a Shrine Bowl nominee to cheer on makes the excitement even greater.
Senior spur Tre’ Williams, who had a game-changing pick last week against West said, “It’s great to have the student body behind us. The support is only growing.” Senior fullback Tommy Dang added, “The student section has been incredible with how they have gotten more involved. The team wants to get more wins now knowing that someone is constantly backing us up.”
With four regular-season games left on the schedule, there is still much more support to be given. Stout, Williams, McNeill and Dang have watched the Orange and Blue Crew grow throughout the years. For them to all be seniors makes this year more special.
The atmosphere around Carson High on a school day is noticeably different than in previous football seasons. The football team knows that the Orange and Blue Crew will not disappoint, and the Orange and Blue Crew knows that the football team will not. The Orange and Blue Crew for the 2013-2014 school year already has made its mark on Jesse Carson High.
When Carson football players awoke Saturday morning after the victory against South, their bodies were most likely just as sore as the throats of the Orange and Blue Crew. The thing that both the football team and student section had in common was the satisfaction of waking up and knowing Carson will no longer be underestimated.
There also was the satisfaction of knowing that a meaningful victory was captured Friday night for Ashley Smith, and there is still plenty more history to be made this year in China Grove.
Stay tuned.