STILL #1Middleton High 1982 state champions take the field at west ashley high game
September 24, 2015
By Bill Davis |
“Will you look at Big Boobie Nash!” yells out a former defensive lineman as he throws his arms around the still-tall shoulders of Bruce Johnson outside the West Ashley High School cafeteria Friday night.
Inside the cafeteria, WAHS principal Lee Runyon was doing his best to corral alums from WAHS, and the former Middleton and St. Andrews high schools. It was the school’s annual Alumni Night.
On top of what turned out to be a 31-13 trouncing of Colleton High School, this night was a special occasion to honor the 1982 Middleton High School Razorbacks football team, which had won the state championship – the last Charleston County public school to win such a trophy.
Runyon kept trying to explain how the halftime festivities would proceed, but kept getting drowned out by backslaps and handclaps of old friends reuniting for the first time in years. The ones doing the hushing soon gave way and became the next round of those doing the hugging and slapping.
Runyon has been trying to reunite the three schools’ alumni bases since he took office last year, pulling in the traditions of the two schools that closed to form WAHS. On this night, he had some special surprises for members of the ’82 Razorbacks team.
First off, teaming with BSN sports, each were each handed a sports tee with their old number on it. Second, Jostens’s local manager Mikell Carroll agreed to make state championship rings for them at cost, eschewing his profit to honor the team.
“I couldn’t believe they didn’t get recognized for this accomplishment back in the day,” said Carroll, who brought his work briefcase to the game with him for those wanting to order that night. Runyon was already working on a fund-raiser to defray as much of the remaining cost as possible.
This was the first time in close to 30 years former offensive guard and linebacker Bryan Delgado had seen some of his schoolmates and teammates. Delgado serves as a colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps and is stationed in Virginia Beach.
“Bringing us together like this could be transformative,” said Delgado. “What’s happening here is the combination of the DNA of the Rocks and Razorbacks.”
Delgado brought with him his son, Bryan Jr., who works in commercial real estate downtown. Others brought with them hitches in their strides, and a few more grey hairs. But the camaraderie born of two-a-days and victory was still evident.
The school had painted its opposing end zones in St. Andrews blue and Middleton red and gold, both of which finally started welcoming West Ashley purple visitors in the second quarter when the Wildcats passing game began clicking.
At halftime, as alums from all three schools massed along the track, the ’82 team gathered closest to the field. One teammate yelled out, “Still No. 1!”
Former running back Curtis Alston looked like he could still suit up, with taut forearms jutting out from his #34 jersey. A telemobile networks professional in the Atlanta area; Alston said the pull of the school brought him back.”
Alston, who scored a touchdown in the state championship game 33 years ago, said he couldn’t remember a time being happier than he was that night seeing friends he hadn’t encountered in years and years.
Called out to the field at halftime, the team was joined by former assistant coach David Reese, rocking an outfit with the team’s colors. Reese took the middle spot of the players because his former boss, coach Jim Werden, had passed away two years ago.
After the WAHS band played the Middleton alma mater and the crowd cheered one more time, the team shuffled off, together to take their seats in the stands. Before leaving the field, one former player peeled his shirt off, saying, “I told them I needed a 2X.”
No matter, he was still a Razorback on the inside. And a recognized champion.