The opening game of the football season is always an exciting time for players and fans.
Tonight the excitement doubles and the anticipation is heightened as the Bradwell Tigers open the newly constructed Olvey Field and play host to cross-town rival Liberty County.
The new field was built by Pinnacle Construction and cost nearly $7 million. The 6,000 plus seating capacity is within the Georgia High School Association’s guidelines making it eligible to host state title games.
According to BI principal Scott Carrier, the field will be dedicated at 6 p.m. The original Olvey field was built in the 1950s and named to honor Lee Donne Olvey, a 1950 BI valedictorian, West Point graduate and Rhodes Scholar at Oxford who later retired as a brigadier general from the U.S. Army.
According to Tiger head coach Jim Walsh, Olvey will be at the dedication and honored during the ceremony and ribbon cutting. Walsh added there would be future events to dedicate the new field house, which is named after Ed Edwards a former superintendent, BI principal and teacher and former president of the Lions Club of Hinesville, the main organization responsible for building the original stadium.
After the dedication, the teams will hit the gridiron in a battle for local bragging rights. It’s not a region game but the results will count on the school’s win/loss record and the Panthers want to claim their first win of the season on the Tigers’ new turf. In turn, BI will fight to the finish to defend their new stadium.
Walsh said he has not been pleased with the Tigers’ past two seasons so the players and coaching staff are doing their best to change the culture and work habits of the squad.
“We are doing everything full tilt and they have picked it up,” Walsh said.
Liberty County Panther coach Kirk Warner said the Tigers are big up front which will be a good challenge for his defense but added he wants to keep his players focused on the long term goals.
“We looked good in spots against Glynn…then of course we looked terrible…but basically we want to see some consistency out of our offense and defense,” Warner said.
Walsh said the Panthers have an athletic defense, but added, “Our focus is on executing and our focus is on us,” he said. “Especially this early in the season…we have to eliminate mistakes and in saying that I can’t worry about what his team is doing I have to worry about what my team is doing.”
It is expected to be a packed house so fans should arrive early to secure a good seat and parking spot. Kick-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.