While the first five games of the 2016 season for Winder-Barrow High School and Apalachee High School certainly were important, this Friday’s matchup between the local schools has an added level of value.
It goes beyond the Battle of Barrow, however, as Friday night’s contest will be the first Region 8-AAAAAA contest for both the Bulldoggs and Wildcats.
The winner will have a good chance of ultimately qualifying for the postseason. The loser will be firmly behind the proverbial 8-ball with only four games remaining.
“We respect the fact it means a lot to the community and our student body,” said WBHS coach Heath Webb, who is 2-0 against AHS. “The people in the stands will be more excited about the aspect of our two local teams playing. We are looking at the bigger picture. We will gladly take the Battle of Barrow trophy but there are bigger trophies out there. At the end of the night, one team is going to be at the top of the region standings.”
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•The Game: Augusta Prep @ Bethlehem Christian Academy, Friday, 7:30 p.m., Knights Field
•Records: BCA: 4-3 overall, 2-1 in GISA Region 1-AAA, defeated Dominion Christian 53-0 last Friday; Augusta Prep: 5-0 overall, defeated Gatewood 41-20 last week
•Last meeting between the teams: Augusta Prep won 42-6 in 2013
•Coaches: BCA: Lance Fendley, fourth season as head coach, fifth overall with program; Augusta Prep: Harry Bacheller, fifth season
•Key Players: BCA: LB/RB Matthew Kamm; OL/DL Clayton Hopkins; RB/DB Tanner Schwebel; RB Chris Ratterree; K Brian Arnaut; QB Michael Tuscano
•Notes: The Bethlehem Christian Academy football team has all but locked up a playoff spot for the first time in program history. The Knights step out of region play this week to face a very strong Augusta Prep team. The Cavaliers enter the game 5-0 overall after an impressive win against traditional power Gatewood last week. This will be the final non-region game of the 2016 regular season for BCA.
•They Said It: BCA Coach Lance Fendley: “Augusta Prep is one of the best teams I’ve seen this year. They run a very complex offense. This will be a taste of what the playoffs will be like. In the grand scheme of things, it is more of a measuring stick to see how we measure up.”
— Scouting report compiled by Chris Bridges/photo by Jessica Brown
With one preseason goal now obtained, the Bethlehem Christian Academy football team is looking to accomplish another.
The Knights’ 53-0 dismantling of Dominion Christian last Friday has all but locked up a state playoff spot for BCA. It will be the first time in the program’s relatively brief history that the Knights will be in the football postseason.
While BCA (4-3 overall, 2-1 in GISA Region 1-AAA) has the playoffs to look forward to, coach Lance Fendley would like to see the team not only be in the postseason but be able to host a state playoff contest.
The Knights will actually step out of the region this Friday when they host Augusta Prep. The Cavaliers enter the game at 5-0 overall including an impressive 41-20 victory against Gatewood last week.
“In the grand scheme of things, this week will be more of a measuring stick to see how we measure up,” Fendley said. “We will go out there and have fun. We have nothing to lose. We are playing with some confidence right now. If we go into the game worrying about how good Augusta Prep is, however, I guarantee you they are going to beat us handily.”
Kickoff at Knights Field is set for 7:30 p.m.
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Not that Jackson County’s first five games of the season didn’t matter, but the Panthers have moved on from their 1-4 mark in non-region play and look forward to starting the 8-AAA schedule.
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Sports are so much better when there is a big rivalry between the teams or competitors performing. I know, that’s not some shocking revelation, but it certainly is true. And although not every big rivalry is an in-state rivalry, one can certainly make the point that in-state rivalries are the most fun to watch.
Take, for example, North Carolina and Duke basketball. These two teams have a bitter rivalry that has been going on for a long time and when one team gets the edge over the other they have serious bragging rights within the state of North Carolina.
I’m not diminishing other classic out-of-state rivalries like the Yankees and Red Sox or Ohio State and Michigan — I’m just making the point that there seems to be something so much more authentic and special about in-state rivalries.
In light of all this, let me bring you into my personal life for just a brief moment. I grew up in a household full of Pittsburgh Steelers fans. My dad was born and raised in Pittsburgh and although I never lived there I still feel like it’s home to me. I say all that to say that I really love my Steelers.
Now, the Steelers have some incredible rivalries already. There is a growing rivalry with the Cincinnati Bengals and of course there is the rivalry with the Baltimore Ravens, which might even be the best rivalry in the NFL — and yes, I despise the Ravens, but that’s another topic.
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