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Giles Spartans hold rally ahead of state football championship game

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GILES COUNTY, VA -

This is the moment the Spartans have been waiting for; another chance to bring home a state championship title.

No one knows the feeling better than the "Super Spartan" himself Arnold Tickle, who hasn't missed a game since 1986.

"That's the goal at the end of the season is to make it to this point.  And we have been fortunate to make it to six of them, and there is nothing like it.  Nothing like the feeling," Arnold said.

At 62 years of age, Arnold has just as much Spartan spirit as he did when he was a student. In the fourth quarter of every game Arnold takes the field and leads the crowd in the famous "Down by the River" chant.

Its truly amazing to see how Arnold can easily gain command of a crowd of thousands.

The Spartans have three state football titles on record.  All of those titles have been won without a quarterback.

Giles is known for the single wing tradition.  It's an offense that remains successful because many teams have never faced it.  The Spartans however, start learning it during little league. It's what they are first taught, and master it at an early age.

Single wing started back in the 1970's with Head Coach Steve Ragsdale.

Jeff Williams now leads the Spartans and will work to earn the Spartans another state title under his leadership.

Williams talked about the continuing the legacy of the former coach.

"He took that vision through and now we are just fortunate enough to carry that vision on with the school pride," Williams said.  "That's the big thing is just the pride in the community and in the school and to me that's what Spartan football is all about."

That winning tradition was the motivator in the pep rally.  The last time the Spartans won was in 2005.

Now to commemorate a 14-0 season, the students have made a banner for each game they've won this year.  They are hanging on the sides of the school, outside the classroom windows.

Cheerleader Devin Moore says the atmosphere in school has been electric.

"Its amazing we always have an awesome student section that comes to every game," Moore said.

The school even has a pep bus that transports fans to the game.

Giles truly is a football community. Principal Jason Mills says it's a pastime that keeps the community tight niche.

"I've never seen something pull this community together as these past couple of weeks have."

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