Bodies topple each other to make room for Moses as he travels through the center of the crowd. The leader holds a beloved symbol of pride, the spirit stick. The previous week students had dressed in all kinds of crazy outfits, and on the final day, the hallways of DC appeared to be a sea of red and white. DC prepares intensely for one game the entire season. This faceoff is a culmination of pride, competition and rivalry. Each year, Panthers work to crush the Eagles of Apollo High School.
“In my day, we never called AHS Apollo. It was always Alpo, a type of dog food,” assistant principal Mr. Lance Blue said.
Cheering against the school from across the district is a tradition. Previous generations were taught to boo the blue and white, and the classes of 2015 are carrying on that legacy.
“There’s a lot of history between us two. As far back as I can remember, the biggest game of the year has always been Apollo versus Daviess County,” spirit section leader senior Spencer Jagoe said.
DC graduate Bryce Garrett has seen many sides of the rivalry, first as a basketball player and currently as a freshman basketball coach. He recalls the excitement before facing Apollo.
“We tried to prepare for Apollo like it was another game, but something was in the air, and we knew that this game had more incentive to win,” Coach Garrett said.
Currently, DC staffulty and students prepare for big games differently than the past. However, some traditions will remain the same.
“We had all out red and white days. We always had a pep rally, and students would decorate their vehicles and have the best decorated car. In the lobby, during lunch and morning break, the assistant principal (Mr. Crume) would conduct a song with students blowing their kazoos,” Mr. Blue said.
The student section wishes to maintain the level of intensity that previous Panthers brought to the court and field.
“For Apollo, we want to have a big student section and have a great theme and get everyone pumped up,” Jagoe said.
Although Panthers are excited for games versus Apollo, many believe that the rivalry is not equivalent to the past.
“The student section doesn’t get as hype as they once did my senior year. [However,] the rivalry is still huge, especially now that the two teams are so evenly matched. [DC and Apollo] fight for the better district seed,” Coach Garrett said.
Mr. Blue agrees that the rivalry was more intense while he was a student. He believes that the reason is because, “back then, Apollo [and DC] students didn’t socialize much. I think social media has changed that now.”
The rivalry between schools has even spread to the adults who make up the DC staffulty.
“Apollo is our sister school, and it was always nice beating their butt at anything. The teachers and administration got into the rivalry from both schools,” Mr. Blue said.
The Lady Panthers were victorious 55-53 over arch rival Alpo on Dec. 12 after a heated battle that carried into overtime. The same night, the boys suffered a hard-fought loss. However, they were ahead most of the game. The Eagles were not ready for the red and white on Jan. 9. The Panthers were prepared to win, equipped with the spirit stick, passion and tradition, and therefore, both the Panthers and Lady Panthers conquered the Eagles. Boys Varisty held Apollo junior Eli Wright to merely nine points, ensuring their 17 point win. The girls victoriously finished with a score of 65-42.