It is past time to renew the Newberry College - Presbyterian College footbal rivalry.
With a relatively new football coach to the PC program, a new athletics director, and a new president, now is the time to start negotiating with a school of just over 1,500 students 20 miles down the road to bring back a rivalry that never should have ended in the first place. Last Friday’s Clinton-Newberry HIGH SCHOOL football game, a rivalry since 1920 - with a new wrinkle this year, a championship belt sponsored by the Clinton Newberry Natural Gas Authority - was a preview of what a renewed PC-NC game could be.
Newberry would have to drop its game against Shippensburg (Pennsylvania, NC won 14-10) and move its game against North Greenville from Game 2 to Game 1, and PC would have to drop a guaranteed win against Virgina College Lynchburg, playing 5 classifications below NCAA Division I to make this happen.
We have to face the stark reality - The Bronze Derby game will never again be on Thanksgiving Day. But, Week 2 is a natural fit (Clinton/Laurens).
And if we started negotiating this year, then PC would not have to face a Wolves team that is the pre-season favorite to win the South Atlanta Conference, which they are for 2023. The Wolves are the defending conference champion (27-24 over Mars Hill in 2022). For PC, they are a good opponent. PC could “catch up” a little in the talent field to match the Division II Wolves.
PC would have to make it a “money game” for Newberry, just like - I betcha - they are making it a “money game” for Virginia College Lynchburg. Under Nichols and Spangler, PC was actually PLAYING, not offering, money games.
Concessions ALONE from a packed house at Bailey Memorial Stadium could produce some of that money.
There’s lots of other reasons why PC and Newberry won’t play in football. Since PC is a non-scholarship opponent Newberry beating them doesn’t improve their “power rating” - BUT Newberry doesn’t really need a power rating to make the national championship game in DII; they just have to keep winning.
And, as we’ve been told continuously since PC dropped scholarship football, the Blue Hose are still a DI team. Newberry gains a little street cred by beating an opponent one division up.
So, what does PC get? The ability to match an opponent size and talent-wise and the satisfaction of putting a blemish on a conference champion’s record.
Truth is, I miss the Bronze Derby. One year I had just been let go by the Newberry newspaper and me and my former wife decided to go to the Derby game any way (cause I never got to sit in the stands with her). After the final horn, PC students planted the PC flag at Setzler Field’s 50. I’ve never wanted to rip down a flag so bad in my life. Then ...
... the headline flashed before me: “Newspaper editor and father of three is beaten in on-field fight,” so I reined myself in. The last time they played it was rainy and Newberry lost and as the (Indians) sideline reporter it was pretty miserable. I did get a great, final shot picture of the coach yelling at the refs, though.
Vic MacDonald, Newberry ‘75, is Editor of The Clinton Chronicle. In June, 2025, he will observe his 50th year in community journalism. Reach him at 864-833-1900.
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