VARNVILLE, S.C. (WSAV) — Many times in sports, fierce rivals go from hating each other to teammates. While the kids from Estill and Wade Hampton never hated each other, they did go from bitter rivals to close friends, but most importantly teammates. WSAV caught up with the Hampton County Hurricanes two months into their first season.

“We merged as a district two years ago with the goal of this year being our first year as a merged school,” Hampton County head coach Rob Hannah said. “The Estill students merged with us this summer and we bus them here to campus. This is now Hampton County High. This is our first season as the Hampton County Hurricanes.”

And so far so good. Hampton County enters Week 8 of the high school football season 7-1 overall and 2-0 in Region 6 of Class AA. The one blemish coming to Brookland-Cayce.

“Many parents were doubting us,” senior running back Zion Dobson said. “Even after that game they were like, ‘I already knew the team was going to break apart when they play a good team. In emotional situations, they are not going to do good.’ But we had to bounce back.”

And they have bounced back. Since the Sept. 22 loss, the Hurricanes have outscored their opponents 104-13 and won both contests.

While in-county rivalries provide nostalgic memories, seniors like Kavon Chislom say merging schools provided Hampton County with a super team.

“It’s nothing really different,” Chisolm said. “It’s just a bigger school. We have more facilities and materials. We were rivals, but we were all cool.”

Right now, the construction of this team is 12 players from Estill at least 30 from Wade Hampton.

“That’s what’s great is it’s an opportunity to bring these kids together,” Hanna said. “It hasn’t been a problem with the kids. From day one, they have bought into being together. It’s been a little bit of a chore with the two communities. Both communities didn’t want to lose their Estill-Wade Hampton roots.

So in the spirit of compromise and community togetherness, an olive branch was extended to Estill. The basketball team will play half of its varsity games at Estill.

“{The district} wanted to have some games over there for the community where they didn’t have to drive as far,” Hanna said. “They actually have a bigger and better gym than we have. It’s newer than Wade Hampton’s gym, which is now Hampton County. It helps that, but when we get to region play we want to have our games here at Hampton County High School because this is their home. Even though some kids drive 20 minutes to get to school, it’s still their home.”

While the adults in the community may take longer to come around than the athletes, nothing brings a town together like winning a team.

“Us going 8-1 into our bye week and going 3-0 in region record it’s huge because the first-place team in our region gets a really good home schedule in the playoffs,” Hanna said.