Chances are that high school sports fans within Forsyth County grew up understanding the rivalry between Parkland and Reynolds.
The rivalry was renewed Friday night at newly remodeled Bob Sapp Field at Mount Tabor as part of the Mount Tabor Football Jamboree.
The Demons and Mustangs played each other for roughly 50 years since Parkland opened. But the two teams didn’t play last season, and they’re not playing this season.
“When we play Parkland, it doesn’t matter if it’s a pickup game of basketball in somebody’s backyard — when it’s Parkland and Reynolds kids, you get fired up,” Coach Pat Crowley of Reynolds said. “Because all these kids at Parkland and Reynolds, Tabor — they all played together in Pop Warner either against each other or with each other.”
Crowley is in his fourth season at Reynolds, and Martin Samek is starting his sixth season as the head coach for Parkland.
“They know us, and we know them,” Samek said. “Kids, the neighborhoods back up to one another. A lot of them went to elementary and middle school together. So we know the coaches, and our coaches know their coaches, so it’s a little bit juiced whenever we play them.”
The two teams have even shared stadiums for many years — earlier at Bowman Gray Stadium and currently at Deaton-Thompson Stadium. The last time the two schools met in football was 2016, when Parkland won 36-35 when both teams were both in the Central Piedmont 4-A. Parkland was moved to the Piedmont Triad 3-A in the NCHSAA’s most-recent conference realignment.
“Both teams have been better of late,” Samek said. “It’s a little pride even though it’s not a real game. It’s a little bit of pride.”
One player who has seen the rivalry, both as a JV and varsity player is senior quarterback Charlie Mensh of Reynolds.
“Parkland’s still our rival,” Mensh said. “We split with kids coming to Parkland or to Reynolds. We played with them all the way through. We’ve known all these kids. So playing them is definitely a rivalry. And we definitely want to beat them every time.”
Junior Cortney Phifer of Parkland provided a specific reason for why the rivalry still exists despite the teams not playing each other.
“Because they talk a lot and we talk a lot,” he said. “So we’ve got to back it up when we talk.”
Both teams have made huge strides over the last couple of seasons. The Demons and Mustangs both finished 6-6 overall last season. The Mustangs went 0-11 in 2014, Samek’s second season. The Demons were 3-8 in Crowley’s first season in 2015 and 1-10 in 2016.
“If (the scrimmage) is against somebody we don’t know or somebody that we haven’t played against it’s one thing, but somebody you’re that closely affiliated with and know that much about, yeah it is (about pride),” Samek said.
Crowley, a native of Hampton Bays, N.Y., who played football at North Carolina from 1987 to 1989, learned the rivalry between the Demons and Mustangs when he moved to Winston-Salem in 2001.
“It’s important to the kids,” Crowley said. “We wanted to get work in today and wanted to get better. And I think we have so far. I try to, ‘Hey, guys don’t get out of control here. Let’s play smart. Let’s get better and not get the emotions get the best of you.’”