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Vikings, wildcats a match full of surprises
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Mascot matchup

Each Friday night in the fall, local student athletes face off on the football field. But for a moment, let’s forget all that. Let’s take a different look at the battle — who would win in a fight, a viking or a wildcat? The Times spoke with experts to determine the answer. And each Friday this season, we pit two different mascots against each other.

A pair of 1-3 teams meet up tonight when the East Hall Vikings visit the Rabun County Wildcats, and tonight’s winner will be tied for first place in Region 8A-AA.

Tonight marks the start of sub-region play, which means those 1-3 records mean nothing, and a win could be the difference between making or missing the playoffs.

The Vikings have won the last four meetings against the Wildcats, but a hypothetical fight off the field, between the mascots, could be anyone’s game.

Vikings, the term commonly used to refer to the Norse, traded, explored and raided areas of Europe in the ninth century.

They would commonly use a short sword for combat and had a fearsome reputation, said Jeff Pardue, professor of history at Gainesville State College, said.

“They’re fearless, they’re known for their bravery and speed, and they had the element of surprise,” Pardue said.

To get from isolated village to isolated village, vikings traveled by longship. The boat was intended for warfare and designed for agility. Vikings were usually after loot and were not opposed to fighting weaker enemies to get it, Pardue said.

“They were a primitive people and they were limited in their ability to organize massive armies or have complicated strategies.”

The wildcat, a midsize cat native to Europe, also would depend on the element of surprise, said Peter Gordon, education director for Elachee Nature Science Center.

Gordon said the animal is similar to a bobcat, which can be found in Hall County.

“They’re here, but folks rarely see them,” Gordon said. “They are kind of secret and opportunistic.”

It’s this stealth that could give a wildcat the edge, regardless of its size, over a viking, Gordon said. Wildcats generally like to sleep on tree limbs and take down their prey from above.

“Between a viking and a wildcat, the viking would always need to look behind his back to see if it was there,” he said.

However, Pardue also points out that vikings were skillful hunters.

“They never ran into wildcats, but in Russia, they hunted bears,” he said.

So who would win a fight between viking and wildcat? It may be up to who is doing the hunting.

In other words, who strikes first.