By KATE COIL
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
The two Bluefields are ready for some football as high school teams take the gridiron for the first time in 2013.
Kick-off for the Beaver-Graham game is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday at Mitchell Stadium, but players, students and fans were already getting into the spirit Tuesday afternoon.
Members of the Bluefield High School Pep Club made their way down Cumberland Road with cans of spray paint Tuesday afternoon.
Makayla Clark, a ninth grader, said the students received a lot of community support.
“It’s fun and interesting,” Clark said. “I’m a cheerleader this year, so I was looking forward to doing this. It lets people know the game is soon. A lot of people have been driving by, waving and honking.”
Colby Ray, a tenth grader, said he was surprised at how much report the students received from passersby as they worked to paint the road.
“I’ve been in Pep Club before but I’ve never done this,” he said. “It’s more than what I expected. It’s a little chaotic. It’s a great way to show support for the school. People are taking our pictures and honking. This lets people know that football season has started and we are ready.”
Breyanna Wood, a ninth grader, worked alongside her classmates as cars passed by.
“It’s fun,” she said. “I’ve never tried anything like this before.”
Anna Lilly, a sponsor of the Bluefield High School Pep Club, said the students always enjoy painting the roads.
“It’s part of the Beaver tradition,” she said. “We enjoy working with the kids. They get very excited about the Beaver-Graham game and this is just a part of that.”
Meanwhile, supporters of Graham High School gathered at the school’s practice field to cheer on the host of middle school and high school athletes gathered for the annual Meet the G-Men event.
Sheila Miller of Bluefield, Va., is a 1975 graduate of Graham and said she lives close to the high school.
“I try to come out to this event every year,” she said. “I try to come out to all the games, especially the Graham-Beaver game. This allows the community to show our support for the team. It also gives the two Virginias a little friendly competition.”
Brad Belcher of Pocahontas, Va., said he and his family are new to the area but already well versed in the Beaver-Graham rivalry.
“Our son is playing middle school football and we came out to support him,” he said. “It is our first year and I didn’t expect there to be this much. It helps the kids to see all the support the parents and community have for them.”
Tammy Williams said she has supported Graham since her husband became a principal and coach at the school.
“I’ve been a long-time supporter of the team,” she said. “This brings the community together and shows community support and spirit for their team. It allows us to meet and greet people. It shows the kids the support and loyalty to this program. It’s also a rivalry between two communities that allows people to come back to the area and see their family and friends. It’s a big deal.”
James Beavers is a member of the Graham High School booster club and has two children who attend the school.
“It’s good for the community and brings people together,” Beavers said. “It shows support for the school, the students, the band and all of the sports. I have two kids in school here and I love doing what I can to support them in their activities.”
The season opener between the Bluefield High School Beavers and the Graham High School G-Men has been a tradition since the first game between the two schools was played in 1911 and now serves as the official first game of the high school football season for local fans.
— Contact Kate Coil at email@example.com