Six years ago tonight, the Porter Ridge Pirates played Scotland in the 4A State Championship game at BB&T Field on the campus of Wake Forest University.
Porter Ridge was 14-0 and big underdogs against 13-0 Scotland. The Pirates were smaller, but they played smart, disciplined football, thanks to the coaching of Blair Hardin and staff (including current Pirate head coach, Michael Hertz).
Scotland’s roster was loaded with size and speed.
Porter Ridge took a 13-7 lead into halftime and trailed by only five points, 21-16 playing early in the fourth quarter until Scotland ran away with a 42-16 victory.
The Pirates appearance in that state championship started a six-year run of county teams to a state final. I look back at that night as my "official" start of UnioNCounty Football.
I attended that game perched above the action in the comforts of the press box on a frigid evening in Winston-Salem.
I had started UnioNCounty Football only four months earlier in mid-August with a Facebook fan page that had eclipsed 300 fans on the morning of that Saturday night championship game. The website was being planned out with a launch still three weeks away.
I was equipped with a small handheld video camera and at the conclusion of the game headed to the Porter Ridge press conference. The camera was rolling and when I got home that evening/early morning I created the YouTube Channel and uploaded the first UnioNCounty Football video- the full post-game Pirate press conference featuring Coach Hardin, quarterback Lee McNeil and wide receiver, Jordan Oakley.
Two days later, the video had over 950 views! It was crazy! Nine minutes and five seconds from the losing side of a state championship game. My first thoughts? That is some passionate fan base!!
I first saw the passion of Porter Ridge fans two weeks earlier when I attended my first game at the Boneyard on November 18, 2011. It was a dramatic win against Mt. Tabor in a 3rd round playoff game thanks to a late fourth quarter Chris Duffy 86-yard kickoff return for the go-ahead and eventual game-winning touchdown.
The Boneyard rocked. I saw the Pirate passion first hand. 950 video views started to make sense.
UnioNCounty Football has come a long way since that cold early December evening. The Facebook page has over 5700 engaged and supportive fans. The website is now a part of the Union County Athletic’s site, and I’m thrilled. The YouTube Channel? Tonight we hit 600 subscribers and now have just under 349,000 views!
Thanks to all that have continued to support and follow UnioNCounty Football over the years.