UPDATE: This Friday's game has been cancelled!
There’s nothing like a good, old-fashioned rivalry.
The Liberty County Panthers and Bradwell Institute Tigers will rekindle their crosstown rivalry in their yearly matchup on Aug. 27.
Both Hinesville football teams are coming off losses with the Panthers dropping to Baldwin 42-6, and the Tigers losing to Westside-Macon 35-10.
A year ago, these teams would play each other twice during the regular season due to shortened schedules by both teams due to Covid.
The Panthers would prevail in both contests.
The Tigers are trying to end the Panthers’ four-game winning streak on them, dating back to 2018.
Led by current University of South Carolina Gamecocks running back Kevin Harris, Bradwell would last beat Liberty in 2017 with a score of 23-7 in the season opener.
No current Bradwell player was on the team that year.
Even their head coach Deshon Brock was not with the team as this is his first season with the Tigers.
Brock does not want to pour on any extra stress on his players but also want them to know the importance of executing in this game.
“Being from the area, I know that Liberty-Bradwell is a big deal in every sport they play,” the first-year Tigers coach said. “It’s definitely bragging rights around town when it comes to Bradwell versus Liberty. We’ve been on the losing end of this rivalry the last few years. We don’t want to put more added pressure on our players. Our thing is controlling what we can control and being Bradwell. For me, it’s a must win like every game. But this one is especially a must win because it’s Bradwell versus Liberty. But for my players, I don’t want to add any pressure. I just want them to execute, and we’ll definitely be alright.”
Panthers head coach Kirk Warner is in his 20th year at the helm, so he knows what this game means to residents and natives of Hinesville as he holds a 9-4 record over the Tigers.
“This battle is good for the community and our guys,” the 20-year coaching veteran said. “They grew up playing rec league against each so it’s big. I’m not going to downplay the magnitude of this game. Everybody looks forward to seeing this game once a year.”
No current Liberty County player knows how it feels to lose to Bradwell and they are looking to keep it that way.
Both teams are looking to nab their first win of the season and what better team to do it against besides the guys that play ten minutes away from them?
“We didn’t play a really good game last week so we’re harping on trying to get better,” Warner said. “We feel like with the talent we got, we can compete against anybody, including Bradwell this week.”
The game will kick off at 7:30 in Donell Woods Stadium on Friday.
It will also be broadcasted on WSAV-CW.