By Mitch Abramson
It was a time when cheerleaders and boosters accompanied teams on road trips and extra security was routinely called in to maintain order.In short, high school games were significantly more popular than they are now and nearly every team had a rival that sparked local interest. On Friday, some of that excitement should return when Campus Magnet travels to Springfield Gardens in a good old-fashioned battle of undefeated teams in Queens III-A.”This is a big game, so they should get some people there,” Granby said. “We've been getting good crowds for our games because of how we're doing this year, but you just don't see the same excitement and atmosphere that you used to have in the '70's, '80's and '90's. This is a different era.”It's also a different team for Campus Magnet (15-2, 9-0), which will be without senior Evan Thomas, the Bulldogs' leading scorer who hasn't played since Dec. 9 when Campus Magnet defeated August Martin, 73-42. Days after that win, Thomas sprained ligaments in his ankle in practice and has missed the last five games. Thomas, who has received interest from St. John's as well as St. Francis and Hofstra, is scheduled to visit a doctor on Thursday to find out the severity of the injury, Granby said.”It's a week-to-week thing,” Granby said. “The doctor told him to stay off it and to take his school work home with him so he could get better.”In the meantime, he has been getting around on crutches and junior Keith McAllister and senior Patrick Bordeau have been shouldering the scoring load in his absence.Springfield Gardens and Campus Magnet were supposed to meet Dec. 16, but the transit strike postponed that game. If Thomas is out with an injury for the make-up date Jan. 28, fans will be deprived of watching Thomas and Springfield Gardens' Charles Jenkins, regarded as the best players in the division, wage a spirited battle.Because the two schools have been in Queens III-A since the 2001-02 season with Campus Magnet owning a considerable edge in victories, Granby has trouble labeling the match-up a rivalry, not when games against August Martin and Jamaica routinely drew boisterous crowds and were considered can't-miss events years ago.”All those games were sellouts,” Granby said. “If you didn't get there by a certain time, you weren't getting in. At some of the games they even had to call in extra security because there were so many fans. Now I don't see that anymore.” Reach reporter Mitch Abramson by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300 Ext. 130.