Blue Devil fever at epidemic levels - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Blue Devil fever at epidemic levels

November 27, 2006

Tifton -- Excitement is growing in Tift County. The Blue Devils' Regional Championship win Friday night was the team's first since 1983, and now everyone in town is talking about a possible state championship.

Brodie Field's 14,000 seats are expected to be filled for this weeks quarter-final game. The sign at First Community Bank reads, "Go Big Blue." Georgia Power painted their windows.

Even Dairy Queen is supporting the team. "This is the first time in a few years that they made the championship and we're just wanting to support them," said Dairy Queen manager Debra Kelley.

It seems everyone in Tift County has Blue Devil fever, attendance at Friday's game proved that. "We're almost selling out of reserved seat tickets and we have an extremely large general admission crowd," said Tift Co. Principal Mike Duck. 

The Blue Devils squad is the first to win a regional title since 1983 and it's got everyone including the players fired up. "Seeing everybody out there just made it all that more exciting to know that your fans love you and for everyone to come out and support you," said Wide Receiver Israel Troupe.   

"It's been real exciting, the thought of going to the dome is pretty fun, it will be an exciting thing to go to," says Kicker Charlie Edwards.

And when the Blue Devils win, so does the community. "It brings a lot of people into our community and increases business externally as well as internally, naturally the more games we play to more money we have to support our athletics," said Duck.

With one more game to go before the Semi-finals in the Georgia Dome the entire community is cheering the Blue Devils on and hoping for the possibility of a state championship.

Tickets for Friday night's match up with North Gwinnett go on sale Tuesday morning. Reserve tickets are expected to sell quickly.  

Traffic in Tifton because of the game is expected to be more congested than usual Friday.   The Tift County Sheriff's Office is advising fans to get to the game early if they want a premium parking spot.

They're asking drivers to use 8th Avenue rather than the two lane neighborhood streets around the field.   "Probably the four lane in front of the school, here in front of the stadium, on the north end of the stadium, is going to move a lot quicker than some of the two lane roads around the stadium," said Tift Co. Sheriff's Sgt. James Partain. "So if you can get close to the four lane your probably going to be more apt to get out a little easier."  

After the game the Sheriff's office says plan for extra time to get out of the parking lot, but they warn people not to loiter.

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