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Off the Field – Once a Blue Devil (Aug. 26, 2015, issue)

Before the start of the football season, Unicoi County High School football coach Glenn White talked about the origin of the term ‘Blue Devil.’
The Chasseurs Aplins, an elite infantry division from France, was well-decorated throughout the time in World War I and World War II and lived by the credo “Vivre libre ou mourir,” which translates into “live as free men, or die.” They were nicknamed “es Diables Bleus,” or Blue Devils.
For obvious reasons, things aren’t that drastic when it comes to athletics, but the Blue Devils channel the attitude that the motto means, by simply not giving up.
Everything that could have gone against the football team on Friday, Aug. 21, on the road at South Greene, did. Between a quarterback lighting up the field, penalties … it could have simply been a blowout when all things were said and done. But the Blue Devils never faltered or buckled under the pressure. The coaches and athletes kept a level head and fired right back to win a season opener that nearly mirrored the image of two heavyweight boxers going toe-to-toe in the ring.
The Blue Devils wouldn’t give up and kept fighting. The end result showcased more than 500 yards of offense and the first win in more than a year for the program.
When discussing this team, one noticeable trait has been the attitude at practices. You can see the team amped up, methodically going through drills and using previous years of mistakes as ammunition for this season.
Sitting on the field after the Blue Devils’ victory, you would think the Super Bowl had been won. The smiles, the cheers, the excitement … the countless hours the coaches, the athletes, the parents and the community have put in were showcased to a packed house.
And the Chasseur Aplins’ attitude is something that goes for all guys and gals across the Blue Nation. Each program, each athlete, each coach – from the high school, to middle school and youth athletics – this is a community that understands what sports are all about. This is a sporting community that understands that wins can’t be bought or expected, they have to be earned through hard work, dedication and a never say die attitude that was made famous by Chasseur Aplins.
Never forget to take pride in where you come from. Doug Cooper, who works with the quarterbacks and play calling with the Blue Devils, made a comment to the local radio station that rings clear and true from anyone from Unicoi County: “Once a Blue Devil, always a Blue Devil.”
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Looking for that special moment? Be sure to visit erwinrecordpix.com for a gallery of photos from Blue Devil and Lady Blue Devil athletics across the county. Photos on the site are available for purchase by print or download.
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The Erwin Record’s award-winning sports coverage doesn’t stop in each issue of the paper. Readers are encouraged to visit The Erwin Record Sports Facebook page online daily for up-to-date information on Unicoi County athletics.
Individuals can also follow local athletics on Twitter: @CurtisCarden_ER.