Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Westside Comes out on Top; in a Clash of Neighborhood Powers, White Has a Little Too Much for Raines

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Westside Comes out on Top; in a Clash of Neighborhood Powers, White Has a Little Too Much for Raines

Article excerpt

Byline: Chase Goodbread, The Times-Union

Hanging from a fence behind the south end zone at White High on Friday night hung a sign that read, "Pride of the Westside." Inside the Commanders' field house, a wall painted "Westside Champions" with a lengthy string of consecutive years makes the fence sign outside inarguable.

And to the players, the moniker matters.

Raines holds a grip as the program to beat on the Northside equally as strong as White's on the Westside. And on William M. Raines Avenue, it also is equally important.

Friday night, the respective giants of the Jacksonville quadrants, where football may matter most, clashed with White taking a 13-6 victory. Backup White quarterback Derek Dees found Guesly Dervil for an 18-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter for the game's final points. And with the Commanders defense allowing only 139 yards, any White lead was a comfortable one.

For these two, before pride can be taken in a district or conference championship, neighborhood bragging rights must come first. Both television and radio crews were on hand for the game, which has taken on a rivalry of its own.

The crescendo for the series came in 1998, when a statewide television broadcast on Sunshine Network carried a classic 34-31 Raines win that featured a slew of Division I recruits.

They topped the neighborhood standings then, and nothing has changed since.

"We've held the mantle on the Westside for some time, and that's been important here," White coach Terry Gilliam said earlier this week. "The kids get more excited when they play a neighborhood school because they know each other. Unfortunately we can't get those schools to play us anymore."

Westside programs Lee and Forrest stopped playing White around the same time the Commanders' dominance peaked in the late 1990s under former coach Dan Disch. Gilliam said he hopes that with Disch now departed, those rivalries can be renewed for the 2005 season. …

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