Spring football has a whole new meaning in 2016 in the towns of Trion and Chickamauga. A 16-month long process culminates this May in a football game that pumps new life into old hate. A Cartersville based company, Southeast Football Rivals, led by Cartersville High School quarterback coach, Michael Bail has teamed up with Justin Brown, head coach of Trion and Greg Ellis head coach of Gordon Lee High school to offer something that many former football players thought impossible…one more chance on the gridiron.
Every football player has heard those dreaded words the final game of their Senior year, “this will be the last game for some of you.” While cheering from the stands may never replace the feeling of being on the field, running through the banner, strapping on the pads, and buckling the chin strap, this alumni game provides an opportunity to relive all of those moments in one glorious night.
Southeast Football Rivals has been successful in recreating epic matchups across the southeast for the last several years. But none compare to the 86-year rivalry between the Trojans from Gordon Lee and the Bulldogs from Trion. Many experts believe this to be the oldest football rivalry in Georgia. Beginning in 1933 the two teams have faced off on the football field with records showing Trion leads the matchup 59-21-1. The last time Gordon Lee defeated Trion was in 2011.
This rivalry is so successful because of “the similarity of the towns, school systems and blue collar work ethic,” says Coach Brown. “This is the best rivalry in the State,” added Brown. Both coaches are alumni of their respected schools and both have played in the grudge match.
This event has the potential to be a great fund raiser for both teams. Football players are not the only ones reliving their glory days, as former band members and cheerleaders are urged to get in on the action.
The game will be held at Gordon Lee High School on Friday May 6th. All alumni are encouraged to be a part of the game on the field, sidelines or the stands. Anyone interested should contact Justin Brown.
The game will be played in four 12 minute quarters and for a $100 participation fee Southeast Football Rivals will be supplying all equipment other than cleats. The high schools will provide the jerseys. Coach Brown announced jersey numbers will be given on a first come first serve basis and the practice schedule will be announced in the coming weeks. Practices will be no contact, as the attrition rate would be too high and the school has a limited supply of ace bandages and Ben Gay.
Michael Bail remarked that while players participate in alumni games for many different reasons they all leave the field having played the greatest game of their life. The chance to share the huddle with a cousin, uncle, brother who had already graduated when you played is reason enough to brave the battlefield once more. Some rivalry games even feature father/son combinations.
Success of any rivalry game depends on participation of the players, fans and community. Walker County and Chattooga County citizens are urged to get involved in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.