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Local band rivalries more like friendly fire, mutual respect
A portion of Eastside's marching band performs during last year's Alcovy-Eastside football game. - photo by Anthony Banks

If you have attended a high school football game at Sharp Stadium, you know just how incredible the atmosphere can be at times. 

The aura of the game plays a huge role in bringing together the Covington community. However, this doesn’t happen by way of just the players on the field. There is more to it.

It comes in the form of spirit-filled Alcovy cheerleaders, or the Aries Spirit Team of Newton, and of course, the engaging bandslike The Pride of Eastside that pumps up the student section during their third quarter break.

 High school football is more than just the game itself. The fight songs, the cheers, the chants – all these things are made possible by our incredible bands, color guards and cheerleaders, and they provide fuel to the in-county football rivalries.

While the rivalries between the county’s three Georgia High School Association football teams are settled in intense fashion on the field, many of the halftime performers agree that the rivalry side of their performances is a little friendlier and encouraging. 

“I don’t believe that there is a (heated) rivalry between schools in halftime performance,” said Eastside color guard member Kiara McKay. She knows that the bands and color guards of each school have different styles of performing, but that there is also a feeling of mutual respect between them. 

“The fans from Newton might not like the way Eastside performs, but we understand that we’re two different bands that have two different styles with Newton being a show band and Eastside being a traditional style marching band,” she said. “We all support one another and our love for music.”

Former Alcovy band member Joshua Webb agrees that the dueling shows for each rivalry game are all in the spirit of friendly competition. 

“A lot of the band was friends with Eastside’s and we did a lot for each other.”

As the bands play throughout the game in the stands, there is a squad of girls down on the field doing everything they can to hype up the team, the student section and all the other fans in attendance. 

You have the loud and proud cheerleaders of Newton, who often follow the cadence of the band to make a spectacular performance altogether, or you can look at the traditional cheers and chants squads of Eastside and Alcovy, who create their own stylistic ways of bringing the noise to the game. 

It is no secret that most of the eyes are glued onto the football field for a majority of a high school football game, but trailing those eyes left or right are unique teams of students who work harder than anyone to bring the Friday night under the lights feel to a football game. 

Plus, they have stories to tell as well, and sometimes, those stories are just as if not more touching than the ones on the gridiron. 

Look for more of an inside peer into the work of our bands and spirit squads later this fall when we debut our Halftime Showcase magazine.