App State and Vols football foes, but fans share mountain friendship

Sep 1, 2016: The Vols and the Mountaineers are facing off on the field, but they actually have more in common than they might realize.

KNOXVILLE - Volunteers and Mountaineers, lend me your 'eers.  

While the University of Tennessee and Appalachian State University may be football foes for their 2016 season opener, the fan bases share enough similarities to be best mountain friends off the field.

Ain't no mountain high enough to hide each of these schools' attitudes with altitude.

Appalachian State is located in Boone, North Carolina, smack dab in the middle of the Blue Ridge Mountains. 

The Tennessee Volunteers thrive in the rocky tops ranging from the Smoky Mountains to the Cumberlands.  

Both schools also have a harmonious vocal range.  In Knoxville, the song of choice is Rocky Top, penned in Gatlinburg and now a bluegrass classic. 

App State fans belt out the fight song "Hi Hi Yikas," with lyrics that claim they're "always a-winning, always a-grinning, and always a-feeling fine."

Both schools also have a history of gridiron thirst.  For decades, Tennessee battled Kentucky for the "beer barrel."  Appalachian fought Western Carolina for a "big mountain jug."

Then there are the matching mountain men mascots.  Along with the bold and brave bluetick coonhound Smokey, Tennessee games feature Davy Crockett.  The frontiersman was born in what is now East Tennessee, became known as the king of the wild frontier, and rocked a coonskin hat and rifle on the old Vols logo.

The mascot is also heavily-armed at Appalachian State.  The big mountain man on campus since 1942 is Yosef.  The name is mountain talk for "yourself."  The large statue of the mountain man on campus is affectionately known as "Touchdown Yosef."

Bottom line, across the peaks and valleys from Boone to Rocky Top, the fan bases walk a common trail.  And both share a fighting spirit to correct anyone who dares mispronounced the word "Appalachian."  (App-uh-latch-un)

(© 2016 WBIR)


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