Reidsville, NC -- When you think of the football capitol of North Carolina, you might think of Chapel Hill, Raleigh or Charlotte. But if you ask the folks in Rockingham County, they'll tell you something different: Reidsville.
In Reidsville, football is more than a game. It's more than a team. It's a community.
In Jamie Jackson's barber shop in downtown Reidsville, there's no ordinary barber shop talk.
Jackson had a brief Reidsville football career in '88. One of his coworkers played and so did many of his customers.
"I played defensive back," said Jackson.
Jackson's oldest son played during several undefeated years and his youngest son just started junior varsity, as a quarterback.
"It is a community experience. It's more like a family," said Jackson.
In the shop, there's a wall just for the Reidsville Rams because of what they do on the field.
But in Reidsville, there's just as much dedication on the field as there is in the stands.
"Some of these kids that are playing this year are third and fourth generation of families that have played football for Reidsville," said Larry Somers.
Somers didn't play football for Reidsville, but he's an avid fan.
"I've probably missed two or three over the last 60 years really. But I saw my first Reidsville State Championship Team play in 1950 and I've been going ever since," said Somers. "There a bunch of us who follow the team. We go to home games and road games. It doesn't make any difference.If Reidsville's playing, we'll be there."
Somers said each game is life a family get together.
However, don't let all the talk of family tradition fool you, they're in it for one reason.
"We expect to win," said Jackson. "We have 18 state championships, so we'd like to keep the tradition going."
Somers and Jackson both acknowledged that football is a way of life for the players and their families.
"It's one of the really great stories in North Carolina High School athletics," said Somers.
"It's a tradition. We are the football Capitol of North Carolina," said Jackson.
If you ask the parents and the fans, they'll tell you their kids start playing ball when they're just six or seven years old, so they learn teamwork and tradition very young.
High school football season officially kicks off next Friday night. Reidsville faces off against Western Alamance.
WFMY News 2