Dressed in black pants and black T-shirts that dawned the words “Dam the creek,” about 100 students gathered in a section on the home side of the basketball gym.
As the referee walked to the middle of the court for tip-off, the students began to yell “ohhhh.”
No, it isn’t the Cameron Crazies, although they do sound like them. They’re the Blue Crew, trying to wreak havoc for the opposing teams when they come to Garner Magnet High School for football or basketball games.
Sometimes the games can attract up to 300 students. The Blue Crew is a student-ran group. The freshmen stand in the back, followed by the sophomores, juniors and seniors in the front.
Throughout the game, they cheer, and at a recent game against their rivals Middle Creek High School, they never sat down.
“We went crazy that game,” Trey Davenport, one of the leaders of the Blue Crew, said. “People from other schools come sit with us, because we get that hype.”
The Blue Crew started in the early 2000s, Davenport said. It was intially called the “Trojan Men,” but it didn’t go over well with the girls.
Each year a couple of students lead the group, figuring out different ways to pump up the crowd and frustrate opponents. They sometimes coordinate with the athletic teams on what chants they want to see and hear during a game.
Throughout the week, the students get together and come up with chants to figure out ways to get the crowd pumped up. Davenport, nicknamed Trojan Trey, said one year when they played Middle Creek they had a student dress up as Moses in Middle Creek’s colors. The student would act like he was parting the Red Sea.
Davenport said the Blue Crew tries not to upset the opponents too much any more, ever since it motivated one player from an opposing team.
Scotty McCreery was one of the leaders of the Blue Crew in his senior year at Garner Magnet High School from 2011 to 2012.
He said their favorite chant when he was there was “I believe that we will win!,” a chant that became popular in the U.S. in 2014, during the FIFA World Cup.
And after a win they’d yell, “I believe that we just won!”
McCreery said that same year, when Garner made the state championship game in football, the group rented out four charter buses to bring the Blue Crew to the game in Winston Salem.
“It was important to let the teams know they had student support,” McCreery said. “We wanted to let them know their hard work was appreciated and create a great environment for the team.”
“It was always fun.”
Davenport said he has known he wanted to join the Blue Crew since eighth grade. McCreery was the leader that year, and the Blue Crew had reached the peak of its popularity.
Garner basketball coach Eddie Gray said that year was the best year of the Blue Crew since he’s been head coach, which they credited to “the Scotty Factor.” He said he gave the Blue Crew a championship plaque that year, which sits in the principal’s office.
“It depends on the senior leadership and that class had a tremendous leadership that year,” Gray said. “Because we usually win, so they had something to cheer about. But it was real organized and they did a lot of special things. It was real fun to watch.”
Gray said the Blue Crew is one of the reasons he loves public education. He said being able to use creativity and leadership in any activity makes public schools special.
“I just hope we don’t ever lose that part of our public education,” he said. “They’ve done some really neat things over the years. Inventive. Some of the things they come up with. And then I believe, of course I’m biased, that they’ve caused some of the other schools to imitate them. And Middle Creek was imitating some of the stuff we started.”