BREVARD, N.C. – Moby Sorrels leaned against the fence alongside Brevard High School’s football field, the ring on his right hand catching the sun’s light as he watched the Blue Devils warm up before a Thursday night game against Owen.
Sorrels adjusted his ring – a gift he received three years ago, from the football program for his loyalty – and smiled proudly at an engraving that reads “No.1 fan.”
It’s a title he’s earned over the past 73 years.
Sorrels, 82, watched his first Brevard football game as a 9-year-old in 1944. He has not missed one since. His streak hit 991 straight games last week.
“My daddy took me to my first game, and I fell in love with it,” Sorrels said. “He instilled in us, me and my three brothers, the importance of football. He wanted us to be a part of it more than anything.”
Sorrels played football for the Blue Devils from 1951 to 1954 – back when the stadium was located where the current library stands. After graduation, he began working on the sideline as a member of the chain gang, the officiating crew that manages the yardage poles on Friday nights.
It’s a job he kept for 59 years, working alongside his brother.
In 2014, Sorrels was forced to retire after having double knee replacement surgery. But it didn’t stop him from going to games. After his surgery, he demanded that an ambulance bring him to the stadium so he could watch the game.
“If I’m not at a game, I’m probably in real trouble,” said Sorrels, laughing. “Football is what I live for.”
It’s also what has helped Sorrels through some of his darkest times.
In 1980, his wife Mable died of cancer. He turned to football for support.
“Football is what kept me going,” Sorrels said. “I don’t know how I would’ve gotten through that without it.”
In 1982, Brevard went 14-0 and won the North Carolina Class 3A state title 15-7 over Bertie County under coach Frank B. Robinson – the program’s first since the 1960s.
“There’s nothing like winning it all,” said Sorrels, who was one of nearly 10,000 people in attendance for that game. “It makes you feel like everything is going to be all right.”
Sorrels can still rattle off the names of players and stats from that team, and many others. He’s known in the community as an encyclopedia of Brevard football history.
“If you know anything about Brevard football, you know Moby,” said Chad Banner, a local insurance agent who played for the Blue Devils from…