As graduates of Stratford High School, Page Wofford and Robert Hellams will always be part of the Knights' nation and legion of fans.
But for one day, they had to put that allegiance aside to try and whip the Knights.
Now Northwestern High School football assistants, Wofford and Hellams were part of the group that denied Stratford a state championship on Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium.
“I wish we wouldn't have had to play them,” said Wofford, who played three sports at SHS before graduating in 1993. “It's great to win a state championship but it's bittersweet, knowing the program they have and what they do.”
The Trojans won going way, 62-35, and finished unbeaten. Wofford coaches receivers and Hellams the running backs for Northwestern.
Wofford has been with Northwestern for two seasons since leaving Hanahan High School. He was the Hawks' offensive coordinator for four seasons.
Hellams, who graduated in 1996, just joined the Trojans this season after seven seasons at South Pointe.
To say Wofford can feel his friends' pain would be an understatement.
“We lost last year so I know the feeling,” Wofford said. “I wouldn't wish it on anybody, especially on Coach Stackley, his staff and players. They have a great group of kids.”
Hellams had similar feelings.
“I feel bad for Coach Stackley and those guys but they had a great season,” Hellams said.
Hellams said he spent some time during week chatting with some of his old Stratford friends.
“I've still got a few friends over there,” Hellams said. “I talked with a few of them on Facebook throughout the week. We talked about it being a Stratford reunion at the state championship.”
From the outset, the game was almost all Northwestern's offense. The Trojans rolled up over 500 yards and scored on nine possessions.
Four Northwestern scoring drives were less than a minute and none were more than three minutes.