Pickens, Easley raise nearly $30K for Meals on Wheels

                                                                                                                             Kerry Gilstrap/Courier
Pickens was awarded with the Ultimate Food Fight Trophy for raising $18,626 for Pickens County Meals on Wheels. The two schools combined to raise almost $30,000 for the charity.Above, first-year Easley coach Grayson Howell and his team pose with the Food Fight Bowl Trophy after winning the game, 30-14.

Easley — The sixth annual Meals on Wheels Sam Wyche Food Fight Bowl was a night to remember, and will be one that students and fans will reminisce about for years to come. Weather delays could not dampen the crowd’s excitement, as the teams faced off for their first rivalry game at Easley High’s new stadium.

The storms that had delayed the start of the game until 9:20 p.m. continued to loom in the night sky, but it did not affect the players’ determination as they took to the field to compete for the “Food Fight” trophy. Easley dominated in the first half and never wavered, even through a power outage seven minutes into the second quarter, winning 30-14.

A shortened halftime and wet conditions did not allow for the traditional half-time Grasshopper lawnmower race. Instead, cheerleaders and members of the student bodies gathered at the 50-yard line, waiting to see who would take home this year’s “Ultimate Food Fight” trophy.

Pickens County Meals on Wheels executive director Meta Bowers presented the trophy to Pickens High School for another outstanding job. Pickens now holds a 5-0-1 record off the field, raising a total of $18,626 this year. Combined, both schools raised $29,671 for Meals on Wheels. To date the students of Easley and Pickens have raised a total of $156,604, the equivalent of 31,321 meals.

Save-A-Lot, the game’s presenting sponsor, kicked off the event as Pickens store manager Scott Masters, Easley High senior Brooke Masters and Save-A-Lot cashier Charlene Juarez presented a $5,000 check to Pickens County Meals on Wheels. Dwayne Goodwin, president and CEO of the Goodwin Holdings Group, is committed to giving back to the communities in which he operates, offering quality foods and customer savings to both Pickens and Easley shoppers.

“It’s been a pleasure working to raise money for such a worthy cause,” Pickens student body president Brooke Stewart said. “It is an amazing feeling knowing that our school has helped so many seniors in the community with the Food Fight Bowl. I cannot take all the credit; the PHS student council has been very diligent raising money for this charity, and they all have worked so hard this summer.”

Easley High student council advisor Tracy Todd said the school is proud to support Meals on Wheels.

“We believe the work they do is wonderful,” Todd said. “While we may not have won the fundraising portion of this event, our student council does plan to support the organization through volunteering and in other ways.”

Easley and Pickens have maintained a fierce rivalry since 1923, when Easley won the very first meeting by a score of 7-6. The “Food Fight Bowl” trophy was designed to inspire each team to have a special reward in a game. The top of the trophy was taken off Coach Sam Wyche’s 1988 NFL Coach of the Year trophy and placed on a new base, becoming rotating Meals on Wheels Food Fight Bowl trophy. The prestigious “Timmy Award” was given to Wyche by the Washington Touchdown Club for his Cincinnati Bengals’ 14-game winning season and representing the AFC in Super Bowl XXIII against the San Francisco 49ers.

It was after midnight, when the Green Wave triumphantly raised the “Food Fight” trophy after winning the game. First-year Easley head coach Grayson Howell secured his first rivalry victory, and Pickens and Easley are now tied 3-3 on the field since the game became the Food Fight Bowl.

“Our clients are also big winners tonight. We continue to see an increase in need for service,” Bowers said. “All monies raised stay right here in our local community and will be used to purchase and deliver meals to shut-ins across all of Pickens County. This is our largest fundraiser, and it is exciting to see the students rally for our seniors.”