Originally created 12/08/00

Dome, Sweet Dome

For Swainsboro and Washington-Wilkes fans, Saturday's trip to the state semifinals at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta is something new and exciting.

For Lincoln County and Washington County, though, it's more of the same.

Been there, done that.

That said, fans in both towns nonetheless are excited about this weekend's games. But in Swainsboro and Washington, fans have taken the excitement to a new level.

"This community really turns out," Washington-Wilkes High principal Robert Adams said. "Our folks leave (today), and we'll send them off in style.

"We won't have a parade since our school is kind of on the main road, (but) they'll have a police escort and maybe decorate the bus a little bit."

Swainsboro Booster Club president Danny Palmer said he's expecting between 5,000-6,000 fans from Emanuel County to watch the Tigers play Washington County in the Class AAA semis at the Georgia Dome.

Of the four schools in the Augusta-area, Swainsboro's fans and alumni may be making the biggest deal of their team playing in the state semis.

"It's something somebody can't believe without being involved in it," said Palmer, whose sons Kyle and Kirk play for the Tigers. "The support going for the team, it's something else. Somebody was saying earlier this week that we better keep the crooks out of town because there won't be anybody around on Saturday."

In Washington, Swainsboro, Lincolnton and Sandersville, manufacturer's are making lots of moneyselling Dome T-shirts.

"They ended up (making T-shirts in Swainsboro) that has got a Tiger draped over the Georgia Dome and those things are selling like hot cakes," Palmer said.

Washington-Wilkes received 1,500 tickets for pre-sale on Thursday, and Adams said about 300 fans arrived early to buy tickets.

"We may very well sell out," Adams said. "It's amazing to watch the town come in like that. It's good for the kids and good for the coaches."

This will be Lincoln County's fourth straight trip to the Georgia Dome. Even though it seems like it's becoming a holiday tradition for Red Devils fans, Lincoln coach Larry Campbell said fans still get excited.

"It never gets old going to the Dome," Campbell said. "It's an exciting day win, lose or draw. I really think that kids now have got to the point where they enjoy going to the Dome so much that they kind of set their seasons on going there.

"Naturally if you were a 16-year old, you would enjoy going there and being able to play on the same surface that a lot of NFL greats have played on. And you're on television in front of a lot of people. It doesn't become old hat because we've went there by so many different ways. I think our folks were against it at first and now it's something I think they look very favorable toward."

In Sandersville, Washington County's championship success in 1996 and 1997 may have spoiled Golden Hawks' fans. After a two-year absence, the Golden Hawks will be back in the state semifinals and after their fans seemed skeptical earlier this year, they're getting excited.

"I think part of that comes from the fact that people didn't expect much from Washington County this year," said Capers Brazzell, who owns a radio station in Tennille. "I think they kind of thought (Washington County) would be rebuilding and that kind of stuff. But (coach Rick Tomberlin) has done a great job. I think they're still about a year or two away."


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