ROCK HILL — Not even an appearance by the Great Pumpkin could have made this a better night.
On Wednesday, the night before Halloween, the Fort Mill Middle School eighth-grade football team broke the “curse’ they half-jokingly say derailed their season with heartbreaking loss after heartbreaking loss. Going into the season finale on the road at Castle Heights, Fort Mill coach Frank Dickerson and his team just wanted to finish on a high note and taste victory once before cleaning out their lockers for the year.
The Yellow Jackets got their wish after a grinding, 6-2 victory. As the score would indicate, it came down to the final minute – and the use of a strategic pull-back of his troops.
“With the game on the line with one minute and 32 seconds left and we are up 6-0, we decided to snap the ball into our own end zone and take a safety,” Dickerson said.
Fort Mill got a free kick after giving up the two points and was able to keep Castle Heights out of the end zone on its final drive.
Injuries have plagued Dickerson’s Fort Mill team in his inaugural season at Fort Mill. After losing his starting quarterback in the summer, his top running back, wide receiver, corner and linebackers all fell foul of the injury bug.
Dickerson, who coached Gold Hill Middle last year, said last week that this has led to some very trying and character-building moments in the locker room.
“I was like, ‘you gotta be kidding me,’” he said. “So I made up this curse, the ‘goose-egg curse,’ because we’ve had a zero on the scoreboard every game. I got the principal involved and they pushed it around the school, to try to get the team pumped up.”
Reporter David Thackham contributed.