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July 5, 2014

Berrien plays eight playoff teams in 2014

TIFTON — With dead week coming to a close, Ed Pilcher and the Berrien Rebels will soon be back on the field, working towards the upcoming football season in what is an anniversary year for the school. Berrien opened its doors in 1954 after consolidating the community high schools.

The Rebels are searching for their first outright winning season since a 5-4-1 campaign in 1995, though they did go 5-5 in 2009. Their last playoff appearance was in 1993.

Berrien has a late open in 2014, starting a week behind most other schools and only getting one open week once the season begins.

A game with Irwin County Indians at home Aug. 29 in their opener. The two were once common opponents, but have not seen each other since 2009, when they pulled off the second of two straight late comeback wins. Berrien has a two-game win streak in the series.

With the Cook Hornets moving up to AAA next year, the annual game between the longtime rivals has been bumped up to Sept. 5 when they play in Adel. Cook has won the last 16 played between them, but the Rebels played their closest game with them last year since 1999 in a 20-9 loss.

Speaking of 1999, that was the last time Berrien and Clinch County met. They do so again Sept. 12 in Nashville. The series is tied at 11-all, with the Panthers having the last three wins. Clinch was a quarterfinalist in 2013, one of eight state qualifiers Berrien faces, including a pair of semifinals squads.

The one brand new opponent is Bleckley County, who they visit in Cochran on Sept. 26. Bleckley went to the second round of state last year, falling to Brooks County and posting a 9-3 record.

The Rebels meet Brooks themselves Oct. 3 in Quitman, which is the first game of the Region 1-AA schedule. They have not beaten the Trojans since 1990, though they did nearly pull an upset last year, holding a 4th quarter lead before losing by 11 points.

Early County is in town Oct. 10, the site of Berrien's only victory over them, a 23-17 overtime win in 2008. Early barely missed the playoffs last year, having been the odd team out in the three-team minigame versus Cook and Fitzgerald.

Berrien is on the road again Oct. 17 when they go to Thomasville. They will be in pursuit of their first ever win against the Bulldogs, who hold a 19-0-1 record all-time.

The team will have a home stretch to close out the regular season, leading off with Seminole County Oct. 24. The Indians are the region's newcomers and a rare opponent for Berrien. This will be their third meeting. Seminole has two wins, but the one for the Rebels came in the state tournament in 1991.

Halloween brings in Fitzgerald, another close loss from 2013, the Rebels falling by seven. Fitzgerald has a 12-game winning streak.

Pelham wraps up the year and is a team Berrien has enjoyed seeing over the years. Though they lost last year, they have played the Hornets for a 12-6 record and used them to break up a region skid two years ago.

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20140801 Tift volleyball.JPG

The 2014 Tift County Lady Devils volleyball team. Summer Bennett, Chat Butts, Carolina Carter, Kaleigh Hobby, Molly Jones, Savannah Kendrick, Mariena McCullough, Dail Adaway, Vanity Golson, Alex Miller, Taylor Nimmo, Amanda Riddle, Logan Seeman, Taylor Cross, Karina Delgado, Audrey McElhaney, Madison Spivey, Julianna Cross and Olivia Thomas Assistants are Dana Fletcher and Chance Benson. Head coach is Courtney Mitchell.

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