If you are like me you can't help wondering, how does a song about a guy hitchhiking from New England to North Carolina end up being the postgame celebration tune for a high school football team in Blairsville?
"I don't know how it happened," says Allison. "For whatever reason over the past several years, after a win our kids get back into the locker room and they play "Wagon Wheel.” You know that song? I just know that's what we play in the locker room. I have no idea what got that started it. I think it's John Denver or somebody like that."
To be accurate the Union County Panthers are singing along with the latest remake of "Wagon Wheel," by Darius Rucker. The chorus to the song was written by Bob Dylan decades before anybody in their locker room was even thought about. If winning is what causes this crew to break out in song, and "Wagon Wheel" is the song of choice, then everybody should know every word, because this program has been a rollin' in recent years.
Last season the Panthers finished at 9-2, ending with a first round playoff loss to Bremen. The rising seniors set goals for 2019.
"We had a good off season," recalls Allison. "During the summer our seniors got together with a local businessman. He is a very good leader and he did a three-day leadership meeting with our seniors. The players got to spend about 45 minutes per day with him. They set their goals, talked about leadership and they talked about how to attain those goals."
Brian Allison is a Union County grad who is in his second tenure as head coach. He led the Panthers for six seasons before going to Winder-Barrow for six seasons. Now in the 12th season of his return to Union County there is something that Allison has not seen as a player or coach. That is because the last time Union County won a region championship was back in 1973.