Oct. 7—Editor's note: The high school football season is underway, but it takes far more than players and coaches to make everything come together. The Aiken Standard will highlight people each Friday who work behind the scenes to make the games possible. To nominate someone who deserves recognition, email John Boyette at email@example.com.
NORTH AUGUSTA — He's fluent in the language of Rashad Byrd, Dan Pippin, Charlie Waters, Caree Collier and Rod Greenway.
Jason Lynn knows local football just about as well as anybody in North Augusta High School's press box on Friday evenings, and he tells the story with help from a few thousand watts provided by radio station WGAC.
He's the play-by-play man for the Yellow Jackets, helping make sense of the ups and downs versus South Aiken, Midland Valley, Strom Thurmond, Aiken and other neighbors, starting in late August and rolling at least into late October.
Social media, he said, provides some encouragement each week. It comes when Lynn reads feedback from people who weren't able to attend a Yellow Jackets game but still caught the action by way of radio catching up with the exploits of Amir Young, D.J. Curry, Taylon Washington, Austin Harrell and their neighbors in black and gold.
"I love football ... I take a lot of pride in doing a good job for those people, and painting a picture like they were there at the game," said Lynn, a 2004 North Augusta High graduate whose Friday teammates normally include color commentator Tony Harrell, in the press box, and sideline reporter Rick Meyer.
The Friday festivities began in 2008, midway through the season, and other members of the radio team over the years have included Jeff Williamson, Ryan Abel and the late Bob Bolton.
Keeping up with who's who on the roster can provide a challenge, so Lynn looks to build and keep good relationships with the various coaches and attend the annual spring game. The requirement, he said, is "probably a good two to three games to really get comfortable," Lynn said.
"He is North Augusta, through and through," said Harrell, who is also largely known as the head coach of North Augusta High's boys basketball program. "He loves North Augusta athletics. He's very passionate about calling the games. He does a tremendous job, painting a picture of what's going on the field, and he's a 'homer,' in a sense, but he also gives credit to the other team, so he's not one-sided or biased, but he does a tremendous job of researching the other team — who their players are."
This week, that has meant looking at what Airport High is bringing to town this evening, with kickoff set for 7:30 p.m. in the Jackets Nest. Lynn watches film of the opposing team — something that Harrell can appreciate, considering that Harrell's background includes 18 years of coaching spread among North Augusta, Aiken, Barnwell and Cheraw.
The majority of Lynn's weekly paycheck comes from another pursuit, as he is a sales representative for Cintas Corporation, selling hygiene products around the Augusta area and occasionally reaching into South Carolina.
He knows the neighborhood well, as his school background included North Augusta Elementary, North Augusta Middle and North Augusta High, followed by a couple of years at Aiken Technical College and then — across the river — to the school now known as Augusta University, in successful pursuit of a bachelor's degree in communications.
Lynn also has a local claim to sports fame, by way of his Jaguar days. He started playing disc golf in 1997, playing on a near-daily basis at Riverview Park, so when his university days arrived, he became a standout on the university's team, which won first place in the country in 2010, while Lynn placed second among individuals.
The next year, Lynn won top honors as an individual, while the Jaguars placed second. The team bagged the team title again in 2014. Lynn still competes and now has professional status in the sport.
Amateurs, however, have his full attention on Friday nights this time of year, as he has kept up with the problems, progress and priorities of such young neighbors as Jack Greenway, Chase Tillman, Colson Brown and Drew Stevens. Lynn knows their stories.
Meyer, largely known as director of the North Augusta Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, said, "He's the best play-by-play announcer calling high school football — his passion, his energy, his knowledge and just love of the game of football and ... what he's doing. It's just in his DNA."
"He's a lot of fun to be around," Harrell said. "He gets excited when the Yellow Jackets do well."
Lynn's stories of punts, passes and kicks usually start just after 7 p.m. on Fridays, leading to kickoff at 7:30 p.m. WGAC is at 580 AM, 95.1 FM and 101.9 FM.