The Sixth Man

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Watch members of the Aquinas Tailgating Coalition in action.

Greenbrier faced all the fire Aquinas could muster Tuesday night.

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It's clear to see where 17-year-old Dominic Harrell's allegiance lies during the Aquinas-Greenbrier game. The initials painted on his chest, ATC, stand for Aquinas Tailgating Coalition. Greenbrier won, 62-56.  Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
It's clear to see where 17-year-old Dominic Harrell's allegiance lies during the Aquinas-Greenbrier game. The initials painted on his chest, ATC, stand for Aquinas Tailgating Coalition. Greenbrier won, 62-56.

The Wolfpack squared off against at least a dozen boys who are going to make serious noise in college basketball.

The Aquinas crowd was what made a seven-point win seem dicey. Those students will make noise in college gyms, if not shots one day.

"They are almost like the Cameron Crazies at Duke," Aquinas coach Bernie Norris said. "The rules say we can only play with five, but we play with six at home. They are our sixth man."

That's because of how "The Aquinas Tailgating Coalition went about supporting their team. Lost in the hoopla of the only game in town that had a bonfire sanctioned by a county fire department was a 62-56 win for the visiting team.

The ATC seemed that serious about support. They grilled hamburgers. They tailgated listening to everything from Irish folk songs to Lynyrd Skynrd. They had their own T-shirts which read "ATC" and "It's Rally Time" on the back.

"We were playing Warren County the other night," Norris said. "I looked at my assistant coach and told him our fans were nothing but first class. I mean I played college ball. When you have fans like that, it sends a tingle through your body."

The student group painted faces. They chugged Rally Cola by the case. Then they wore the cases it came in as cardboard berets.

They mocked Greenbrier guard Nolan Belcher with posters. Belcher is 5-foot-7. He became a natural target for posters and chants referring to him as "Oompa Loompa" from the movie "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory."

"We're against anybody on the court who isn't with us," Aquinas student Patrick Douglas said. "That's the other team. Their fans. Referees. Everybody."

Rally time came when the Irish (7-8) shaved a deficit that got as large as 15 points to 58-56 with 1:43 left to play. But Greenbrier sophomore Bryan Andrews finished with a flourish, similar to how he began the game.

Andrews had 18 points at the half. He scored another nine in the fourth quarter, including six of his game-best total over the final 2:30 of the game.

The synergy he had with Anthony Williams in the first half was impressive. Andrews and Williams had 28 of Greenbrier's 34 points at the half. Their play was about the only thing able to pull one's attention away from the antics of the stars of the night.

The ATC has a brick that gets held aloft and pointed to whenever opposing shots clang off the rim. Not even the early 19-5 lead the Wolfpack (18-3) ran stormed out to could take the air out of the home fans.

There was the "Tees for Threes" tradition. When the home team swished a three-pointer, the boys in the student section took off their T-shirts to reveal a painted chest that read "ATC" in neon orange paint. The ATC members then twirled the shirts in the air

They turned their backs when the public address announcer read a statement calling for civil fan behavior. They refused to take their seats at any point of the contest, including halftime.

It was all good clean fun.

"They are all nuts," Aquinas football coach Jim Connor said. "But it's a good kind of nuts. Every school needs kids like that."

Reach Jeff Sentell at (706) 823-3425 or jeff.sentell@augustachronicle.com.

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hijc
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hijc 01/25/07 - 11:40 am
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hi

hi

ghsballer
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ghsballer 01/25/07 - 02:28 pm
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The ATC is one of the most

The ATC is one of the most annoying groups of fans i have ever seen or heard of. The main point of a rowdy crowd is to help the team, with a record like theirs they need to realize that all they are doing is annoying their own team and humiliating the entire school at the same time.

ghsballer
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ghsballer 01/25/07 - 02:30 pm
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who is coming to the

who is coming to the greenbrier evans game???

Space Prophet
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Space Prophet 01/25/07 - 05:25 pm
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everyone is going to the

everyone is going to the evans g-brier

fntool
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fntool 01/25/07 - 06:20 pm
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Im sorry CHIEF you are

Im sorry CHIEF you are proving again how little you know of Aquinas. Im having trouble believing you to be an adult but now you have a kid at Aquinas? Come on man, if you took one look at our facilities you would see how we have ZERO spare change to put into our programs. We dont have the government to pay our teachers or give us new things, we have donations and tuition (the tuition is around $6,000 a year) to pay for these things. We have alumni who do what they can, but answer this question: Do you honestly believe that Aquinas Alum give money to bring some kid to the school because he is good at sports? No no, not only will the kid have to pay tuition, but why would he come when Aquinas isn't a powerhouse such as Evans, Greenbrier, Lakeside, etc. The only discounts Aquinas has to offer is the work-study program for kids who cant afford tuition...I'll explain...the student cleans an assigned room every day after school for a small discount. Why is this you ask? This allows more people to experience Aquinas while keeping costs down for the school...i.e. less janitorial staff. So CHIEF, if there is anything else I can explain to you I will take the time and spell it out for you.

fntool
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fntool 01/25/07 - 06:36 pm
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Some more facts for anyone

Some more facts for anyone less acquainted with Aquinas:

Our teachers make almost half of what public school teachers make...they all have the same degrees any other teacher has..so why Aquinas you ask? They enjoy teaching and the family atmosphere.

Yes, Aquinas is a Catholic private school, but about 1/3 of the student body is of some other denomination including teachers who are Baptist, Protestant, etc.

Why are we so involved with these posts? Publicity is a rare thing for Aquinas so we enjoy this opportunity to show that we are a respectable school.

Just some random information for those interested. Please ask yourselves this question: Why is it that Aquinas is so widely disliked among Columbia County Schools? I can say this because I spent 10 years in the Columbia County system and I haven't only received a better education at Aquinas, but I learned how to interact properly with my peers in my time at Aquinas.

I'll share something with you...treating everyone as equals creates for a better environment, therefore more FUN. What I'm saying is go out of your way to talk to someone that isn't in your clique and you will learn that we are in fact very much alike.

fntool
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fntool 01/25/07 - 06:40 pm
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and I continually use CHIEF

and I continually use CHIEF as an example because he is like most others...uninformed. This bitterness to us or any other minorities isn't because of a close basketball game, it is fear of the unknown. So please dont be closeminded and get out there and learn...you will find that you have a good time and maturity will strike you along the way...So good luck with things to anyone this may concern.

mwilli
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mwilli 01/25/07 - 07:27 pm
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All I have to say is GHS beat

All I have to say is GHS beat a single A school!! Whoop-Diddy-Doo

ryanzman2
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ryanzman2 01/25/07 - 07:45 pm
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I love how you make yourself

I love how you make yourself and Aquinas sound like saints. Might want to quit that before I start dropping names and instances. You trying to juxtapose morals and a basketball game is hillarious. Don't start labeling people uninformed by the way they type on a message board, it just shows your feeble attempt to sound intellectual. So stop making your school sound like it's so superior to all others. I love how you make the students there sound so innocent, when I had a mob of 40 students follow me to my car, taunting me to fight. Come do that at Greenbrier, and then we can have 300 students follow you to your car, and then you can come back on here and read my comments on how respectable we are. Because at Greenbrier, we are nice and we usually keep our cool. But you keep messing with us, eventually we are going to return the favor. Because at Greenbrier, we stick together for all sports and genders. We don't party until the boy's game and come in after the girl's game. We support all our teams. So like I said, quit talking like everyone at Aquinas are these angelic, multi-denominational students. We all know that private schools are for kids who can't handle public school.

ant3423
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ant3423 01/25/07 - 09:21 pm
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I like how the people over at

I like how the people over at greenbrier call aquinas kids alchoholics based on a stereotype that all irish drink alot of alchohol....every time i read the paper is about a COLUMBIA COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOL KID either get busted with pills, coke, etc...so congradulations on being drug users instead of alchohol abusers kids

isitme
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isitme 01/25/07 - 09:22 pm
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Haha .. thats funny because

Haha .. thats funny because we did go to greenbrier .. (and had a bigger student section that yall there too ... you definately didnt have 300 students there) and i believe yall were the ones that followed one aquinas student to his car and luckily the police were there to break it up before anything happened ... also in case you didnt notice almost every single Aquinas student was parked in the field on the side of the gym at Aquinas where all the yelling went on ... we were not interested in following anyone to their car.
And him "trying to sound intellectual" is exactly what you are doing. Yall think you know about aquinas, but you've probably never stepped foot in the school during a school day.
No we're not gonna go to the evans vs greenbrier game .. we have a home game that day .. sorry.
And you're showing your stupidity by saying that our team is annoyed by us .. both the coaches and the players love us. We dont do anything that would annoy our team and if we annoy the other team .. good ... last i checked that was the purpose of a student section was to mess with the other team ... so i am going to take your statement as a compliment .. thank you.

Finn McCool
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Finn McCool 01/25/07 - 09:27 pm
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To Frenchie-We arn't saying

To Frenchie-We arn't saying we are saints or anything like that, but why when students come together for something good does everyone start hating. I have no problem with greenbrier. They won the game. Im not saying that aquinas is superior to other schools as you suggest, but its the only place in the area where you can get a catholic education. I dont dispute that we are not the best example for christian behavior. but why are you going to hold it against us for choosing catholic school. Im sorry some of us got out of hand in the parking lot but like the leprechaun said Irish are known for their tempers among other things. Its about having fun and taking pride in your school. People just need to relax. Its not that big of a deal.TO CHIEF-I find it very hard to believe that you have a kid that goes to aquinas. Why would you bash a school and then pay them $6000 dollars? and i noticed your other comments were all about greenbrier or columbia county school board issues. My offer still stands. and it is serious. go into the office and ask for Finn theyll get me and id be happy to meet you. To EVERYONE ELSE-chill out, it isnt the first time some rowdy irish catholics got out of hand

isitme
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isitme 01/25/07 - 09:28 pm
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And about the belcher thing

And about the belcher thing .. we have respect for belcher .. we made the signs because he's a good baseball player so we had to get on him for something that hes not great at .. and sorry but no hes not great at basketball ... and yes given enough chances he would pack some aquinas players .. but given enough chances i would pack some greenbrier players and i'm not even on the team.
About the ref thing ... we dont hate the refs .. if they make a bad call we let them know .. we support our team in every way that we can. I talked to a ref about the student section's chants about referees and he actually said he thought they were funny.

slightlyembarrassed
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slightlyembarrassed 01/25/07 - 10:48 pm
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I graduated from Aquinas, you

I graduated from Aquinas, you kids are a joke. When you start winning and playing like winners, even though you are losers, maybe then you can act this way. I see a bunch of non disciplined whiny babies that throw tantrums, not to mention helmets, on the sidelines. I invited a friend to see a game one time and he was horrified at the way the players act. I am also slightly shocked to see that the leader of so called ATC comes from a fine athletic family that I would have thought would have more ethics and discipline towards good behavior during a game. WOW, makes me want to rethink Aquinas for my kids.

mwilli
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mwilli 01/25/07 - 11:42 pm
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okay- for all of you that

okay- for all of you that don't know- it doesn't matter that we lost to greenbrier or that nolan belcher got called an oompa loompa, and can't take a joke. The real matter here is that Aquinas has the best student section there is and this why we are in the newspaper. I would also like to point out to all the haters, whiners, wimps, and whoever else out there who is against Aquinas, that we are 4-0 in our division. Greenbrier is not in our division so it doesn't matter that you beat a 1-A team by 5 points.

slightlyembarrassed
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slightlyembarrassed 01/26/07 - 12:56 am
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Sorry mwilli, they will never

Sorry mwilli, they will never be champs until they learn to act like champs. This comes from proper coaching and discipline and is very much lacking at Aquinas. Again, don't tell me I don't know what I am talking about, I went there. My grandad built and donated the original library for the school; my dad was very instrumental in the football stadium when it was built; and I am in disgust at the way these kids are acting. Bon fires and tailgating need to stay in the parking lot and when you enter the playing field, sportsmanship needs to take precedence. Doesn't matter to me if they win State, this group of students should never go down as champions until they learn to act the part.

000
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000 01/26/07 - 10:49 am
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All of this is simply

All of this is simply embarassing! As a graduate of GHS and a family member of an Aquinas Student I am completly baffled by this behavior. I think that ATC is just "good clean fun". This is just about school spirit, why is Greenbrier having such a problem with this. When I went to GHS we had pep rally's how is this any different except from the fact that it is not taking up any precious class time. Every school is going to have obnoxious fans, parents and coaches, unfortunatly that is the way we are! Having seen both sides I don't think anyone has room to talk about unmannered or classless students, parents and coaches.

BWood89
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BWood89 01/26/07 - 11:28 am
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Aquinas fans you may think

Aquinas fans you may think you are the best fans in the area, but true fans atleast help their team win. Also you can criticize our faculty all you want, but when your coach refuses to shake hands with the opposing team that just reveals how classless ya'll really are. I know you are going to say that our coach called him a fool, but if you dont want to be called that then dont act like one.

byancy89
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byancy89 01/26/07 - 11:29 am
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"okay" stevenkc, answer

"okay" stevenkc, answer this...who was losing to aquinas the first half of the evans vs. aquinas game??????? ummmm evans.....yall barely came back.... the first two three pointers that nicely made were nothin but........AIR BALLS!!!! AIR BALLS, AIR BALLS!!

byancy89
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byancy89 01/26/07 - 11:34 am
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"okay" who is #1 in region

"okay" who is #1 in region and #9 in state? ummmm......greenbrier....is evans even ranked??? i dont think so

byancy89
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byancy89 01/26/07 - 11:37 am
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irish0303.... wow ur whole

irish0303.... wow ur whole school was in the stands....no greenbrier people came b/c yall r nobodies.... we dont care about yall.....

stanleyb
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stanleyb 01/26/07 - 06:07 pm
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slightlyembarrassed...what do

slightlyembarrassed...what do you think you are achieving by trying to shun TEENAGE Aquinas students over a thread on the chronicle website. If you are "slightly embarrassed", address the Aquinas board...I'm sure they will listen with your families background in the school. Personal opinion of course (just as everything else in this thread is) but I'm finding it hard to believe that you actually had all of what you say to do with Aquinas. I'm asking you to prove me wrong. How's the Alma Mater go again?

mwilli
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mwilli 01/26/07 - 06:28 pm
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slightlyembarrassed- i feel

slightlyembarrassed- i feel embarrassed for you. If you think that we have no discipline and our coaches aren't that great why don't you take your opinionated self down to highland ave. and take it up with the principal of our fine establishment, considering your family was so invovled with the school. I would like to point out also that it is our fans showing school spirit-so don't take it out on the players themselves. If we win state maybe you could stop by sometime and visit the trophy in the display case.

slightlyembarrassed
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slightlyembarrassed 01/26/07 - 07:07 pm
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Character: Paul Bear Bryant

Character: Paul Bear Bryant Quotes
"Show class, have pride and display character. If you do, winning takes care of itself."

P.S.
Gather here true and dear sing we now of Aquinas
You have led us along right paths, ways of truth and beauty
Strong and Bold, Green and Gold, Hail we our Alma Mater.

Maybe not complete or in order but enough to make you say hmmmm he did graduate from Aquinas. It is likely I graduated before any of you were born.

stanleyb
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stanleyb 01/26/07 - 07:18 pm
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thank you sir, seriously. but

thank you sir, seriously. but this only leads to the next: since you remember how aquinas was when you went, you should (in my opinion) a little more respect with what we are trying to do for the school. I assure you sir, our intentions are in the right place. Thank you again.

slightlyembarrassed
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slightlyembarrassed 01/26/07 - 10:48 pm
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Ok, they aren't as bad as

Ok, they aren't as bad as they appeared in this blog. After going to the game this evening, I see first hand what they are all about and I feel this blog has blown them out of character. I do still feel they need a little touch up with the turning of the backs and booing when the other team is being introduced.
And I regret that Lincoln left before the game was over and that Aquinas won by forfeit as I truly KNOW that last basket was going to be overturned as it was very much after the buzzer. I am certainly for Aquinas sports and just feel a little better sportsmanship on the fans (ATC) side is in need.

isitme
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isitme 01/26/07 - 11:20 pm
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The call tonight was bang

The call tonight was bang bang and could have gone either way. Once he made the call though he really could not overturn it. Also, things might have changed in the last at least 18 years since you graduated.
We were chanting ATC, ATC,ATC at the end of the game tonight, we said nothing that would want them to fight. They were not happy with the call and tried to come up into the stands, and honestly we did not say anything disrespectful(unless ATC is disrespectful).
And for the argument that nobody goes because we're "nobodies" is a terrible argument because good student sections show up for games no matter what. And once again the "nobodies" played 3 good games with yall so please show some respect.
Turning our backs when the other team is announced really isnt a big deal in my mind ... i'm sure even the other team really doesnt care if we watch them get introduced. And at just about every sporting event in america the home crowd boos when the visiting team is introduced.

legallybrunette
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legallybrunette 01/27/07 - 12:45 am
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what i would like to know is

what i would like to know is if the game meant so little to greenbrier why are yall on here arguing about it? And if Aquinas is full of such "nobodies" why are yall letting us, miniscule as we are, bother yall so much?

slightlyembarrassed
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slightlyembarrassed 01/27/07 - 01:02 am
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I reiterate......Character:

I reiterate......Character: Paul Bear Bryant Quotes "Show class, have pride and display character. If you do, winning takes care of itself." As for the call being overturned, I feel as though it was going to be as the refs were at center court when the Lincoln team left and then the ref came to the scorekeepers and said, "oh well, let it stand". It was going to be overuled, I was right there at the scorekeepers table.

isitme
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isitme 01/27/07 - 01:32 am
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haha ... one more thing about

haha ... one more thing about greenbrier .. i guess evans is just way better than yall and i'm surprised they even had any students show up since they are a way better team than you and you're just not on their level at all. I mean they've beat you two times in a row so that shows their complete dominance over you. I bet they didn't even play their starters against you because thats how bad you are. Haha i'm just kidding obviously, but that's basically what you are saying about us. Do you at least kind of realize now how ridiculous your argument is?

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