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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slightlyembarrassed
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slightlyembarrassed 01/27/07 - 01:33 pm
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There were Many alumni on the

There were Many alumni on the LC side as there were no seats on the home side......

Space Prophet
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Space Prophet 01/27/07 - 02:04 pm
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no one cares about aquinas

no one cares about aquinas and their below average teams, your student section isnt that great, get over yourselves

Space Prophet
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Space Prophet 01/27/07 - 02:08 pm
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and byancy, who still won the

and byancy, who still won the evans aquinas game? evans, and greenbrier shouldnt have even been ranked in the state, but anyways they arent going to be anymore, not after last night

Space Prophet
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Space Prophet 01/27/07 - 02:25 pm
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and why do you guys think

and why do you guys think that everytime that greenbrier and evans play each other in anything, the news always makes a big deal about, cause its the biggest rivalry around, the evans greenbrier game is always on the cover of the sports section, and is always the first highlighted game on the news, have you ever seen a game like lakeside vs. aquinas in the paper or on the news? no, only when aquinas plays against evans or greenbrier.

slightlyembarrassed
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slightlyembarrassed 01/27/07 - 02:26 pm
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Ok, here is a prayer/poem I

Ok, here is a prayer/poem I said before every game. Maybe todays students/athletes should learn it....... Dear Lord, in the battle that goes on through life
I ask but a field that is fair,
A chance that is equal with all in the strife,
A courage to strive and to dare;

And if should win, let it be by the code
With my faith and my honor held high;
And if I should lose, let me stand by the road,
And cheer as the winners go by.

And Lord, may my shouts be ungrudging and clear,
A tribute that comes from the heart,
And let me not cherish a snarl or a sneer
Or play any sniveling part;

Let me say, "There they ride, on whom laurel's bestowed
Since they played the game better than I."
Let me stand with a smile by the side of the road,
And cheer as the winners go by.

So grant me to conquer, if conquer I can,
By proving my worth in the fray,
But teach me to lose like a regular man,
And not like a craven, I pray;

Let me take off my hat to the warriors who strode
To victory splendid and high,
Yea, teach me to stand by the side of the road
And cheer as the winners go by.

-Berton Braley

slightlyembarrassed
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slightlyembarrassed 01/27/07 - 02:33 pm
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And yes defender I was hoping

And yes defender I was hoping for a Lincoln County win. Certainly not for the defeat of the Irish, but for the defeat of the sportsmanship of the ATC. I am very competetive and have all the respect in the world for Licoln County. They are a class act with very well coached athletes and it was always a pleasure to play them.......they played head to head. You knew they would always play a fair game. I didn't mind being beat by better coached and better execution and I can promise you that they likely don't even know how to booo an opposing team. And my hats off to you as it seems you have figured out who I am.

slightlyembarrassed
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slightlyembarrassed 01/27/07 - 02:36 pm
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and to you steven, Aquinas

and to you steven, Aquinas has some very talented athletes and are very competitive in all sports with the exception of football. I certainly feel they should move to an independant school schedule but they do indeed compete AND WIN in many other sports in the class they are in.

fntool
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fntool 01/27/07 - 03:24 pm
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so slightly embarrased you

so slightly embarrased you are saying that you were hoping for a lincoln county win because you have respect for them...so it is alright to throw off your jersey and try and fight while flicking the atc off(not to mention cussing us all out) but it's not alright to boo for the other team...all we were trying to do is help support team and have some clean fun i don't see what's the big deal and why we are seen as the bad guy in this situation please explain that to me

slightlyembarrassed
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slightlyembarrassed 01/27/07 - 03:40 pm
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fntool, I agree the emotions

fntool, I agree the emotions got elevated quickly and I was very surprised by Lincoln County's actions, certainly not what I have seen from them in the past. But had they settled down and been able to finish the game in overtime, I think things would have been different. The problem is that with all of the ATC chanting in words that could not be made out, I can only imagine that they felt the ATC was once again taunting and provoking them in an ending that was certainly erroneous. Heck, back in my day (dare I say it) I likely would have kindly asked the bunch of you to come out back with me. But thats just me you see, I would have been a good sport about whipping you. (all said in good humor) But they did make an excellent comeback only to have it taken away by a bad call and feelings ramped up very quickly but their coach certainly did a good job to control them and leave the court. Like I said, I now have a different view towards the ATC with the exception of booing at introductions, and don't see anything wrong with them. Heck, I may come have a rally soda with you at the next game.

Space Prophet
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Space Prophet 01/27/07 - 06:43 pm
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so slightly embarresed, if

so slightly embarresed, if they have talented athletes, why arent they any good at sports

fntool
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fntool 01/27/07 - 06:47 pm
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slightly embarrassed: you are

slightly embarrassed: you are welcome to come out to ATC and see first hand how the tailgaiting works, all that we ask is to be open to having some fun and to not be biased

slightlyembarrassed
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slightlyembarrassed 01/27/07 - 07:12 pm
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Stevieboy, the draft pool, if

Stevieboy, the draft pool, if you will, is much smaller than that of a large public school. As far as being competitive in our region in MOST sports, we usually are very competitive. Football is certainly the exception to that rule. But look at baseball, soccer, tennis, basketball, etc. IN OUR REGION we are very competitive. We were forced to play some quad A schools due to the fact that many independants don't want to play us due to our number of players that dress.

Space Prophet
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Space Prophet 01/27/07 - 10:15 pm
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yea, and you cant keep up

yea, and you cant keep up with our 4A schools, so i guess its best for you guys to stay in 1A maybe one day you can move up to 2A and if your lucky maybe in 10 years 3A

slightlyembarrassed
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slightlyembarrassed 01/28/07 - 12:07 am
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Stevieboy, Class is based on

Stevieboy, Class is based on the size of the student body and it is highly unlikely that Aquinas will ever move up to the class that of a large public school. Now do you see why a school such as Aquinas is certainly at a slight disadvantage when playing public schools that have thousands of students....DUH. BTW, which instrument do you play in the band?

Space Prophet
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Space Prophet 01/28/07 - 12:16 am
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which insrtument do i play?

which insrtument do i play? is that supposed to be a joke or are you trying to sound like a smartas

slightlyembarrassed
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slightlyembarrassed 01/28/07 - 12:34 am
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Just a random guess on my

Just a random guess on my end. My, don't get so defensive.

isitme
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isitme 01/28/07 - 12:39 am
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I like how public school kids

I like how public school kids try to make fun of us for being a small school .... just to let you know its really not embarrasing to us. And no, we're probably not ever going to move up and honestly we don't really care. I'm sorry we play bigger schools but we kind of have to because all the schools in the area are bigger than us. And I'd say considering you're about 7 times bigger than us we hung with yall pretty well.

Space Prophet
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Space Prophet 01/28/07 - 01:04 am
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yea, ill give you guys that,

yea, ill give you guys that, but, not to sound like im making an excuse, but we played you guys the day after j-nice hit the game winner vs. g-brier and everyone stayed out until like 5 in the morning the next day

grimreapa69420
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grimreapa69420 01/29/07 - 12:15 am
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just for the record i dont go

just for the record i dont go to greenbriar..i used to go to ARC..greenbriar shouldnt be brought up either until its soccer or baseball season because they arent good in anything else either except girls basketball...and no one cares about girls basketball anyway

bleedsgreenandgold
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bleedsgreenandgold 01/29/07 - 12:40 pm
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Slightlyembarrased: the call

Slightlyembarrased: the call was not going to be overturned. The baseline referee called a blocking foul on the shot before the clock expired, so continuation of that shot is allowed the shot was made, time expired Irish win. That was the discussion at midcourt (also that a LC bench player took a swing at the older ref).

I know who you are and watched you cheering openly for LC. It was difficult for me to focus on the game because I was so upset that you were actually pulling not for LC but against AHS. I was more than slightly embarassed because you used to be someone that I looked up to and admired. I appreciated your talents on the football field and you were a good leader. It is beyond my comprehension how you can get on a public message board and say negative things about the school when so many people, your family included, have worked so hard over the years for our community Catholic school. Especially considering that your opinion was based on heresay not fact. The student section at our basketball games is raucous, they taunt, chant, dance, and scream. I think they are great and hope that they have started a tradition that continues for years.

GO IRISH!!!

slightlyembarrassed
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slightlyembarrassed 01/29/07 - 02:07 pm
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Bleeder, Thank you for your

Bleeder, Thank you for your positive response and obviously you do know me. In saying that, you would also KNOW that I want the best for Aquinas no matter what it be. I want the ATC to get rowdy and show me they can do it. I guess I want to challenge them and make me the fool, more power to them to do so. After seeing what they are all about, I did retract my statement about them. I will be at a later game to have a soda with them and make a proposal for the next football season. I was told that the football team has cookouts and such before the game. I want to know more about this and am going to work on something along the lines of me doing the cooking and buying steaks or something along those lines for every game they win. But I will need to get some people involved in this. Give me a call and we will discuss this further. Don't lose the faith and always know that I bleed the same colors as you! GO IRISH!!

Edward1968
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Edward1968 01/29/07 - 03:07 pm
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Hey Justin, I wouldn't

Hey Justin,
I wouldn't called the students at Aquinas stupid if I were you. You cannot even form a correct sentence. Did GHS teach you English and Composition? If you want to slur anyone by calling them stupid then I strongly suggest that you exhibit higher intelligence when doing so. It appears to me that you are one of the many public school students (or graduates) that have failed to achieve the intended level of education. Good luck in your future, I honestly believe you will need it.

Space Prophet
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Space Prophet 01/29/07 - 08:21 pm
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not even god HIMSELF could

not even god HIMSELF could save the aquinas athletics

slightlyembarrassed
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slightlyembarrassed 01/29/07 - 09:50 pm
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Steve, with athletes that you

Steve, with athletes that you have just told us stayed out "until like 5 in the morning" I have to question where the discipline and dedication lies with your school. Hmmmmm? And when you speak of my God, please use a capital "G".

isitme
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isitme 01/29/07 - 10:18 pm
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Yeah ... you tried to make an

Yeah ... you tried to make an excuse for the game being close but it made your school look awful .... thats really not something to brag about. And last year Aquinas got 8th in the Directors Cup and 5th in the boys standings and the year before that we got 7th overall ... Last year Greenbrier got 7th overall (1 spot better than Aquinas) and 6th in boys (worse than Aquinas) ... I'd say the athletics at Aquinas arent doing too bad.

Space Prophet
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Space Prophet 02/03/07 - 01:53 pm
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sorry about the God comment,

sorry about the God comment, just was seeing what you guys would say, and even though the game was close, who still won? evans, doesnt matter if it was by 3, if you guys would have beaten us by 3 you would be saying the same thing. and last year, greenbrier wasnt good, so you cant compare last years greenbrier to this years, and dont act like none of your aquinas players have ever stayed out late after a big game

melvindamanlapan
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melvindamanlapan 08/19/07 - 09:12 pm
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mrpolo39 why dont u stop by

mrpolo39 why dont u stop by the school and ill show u some athletics

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