Tifton Gazette

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April 7, 2014

Different paths for former region rivals

TIFTON — For the past eight years, the Cook Hornets and Fitzgerald Purple Hurricanes were nearly mirror images in football schedules. Not only were both members of 1-AA, they played some common opponents out of the region, too, including mid-Georgia school Jefferson County.

  Then reclassification happened.

  Cook was initially put in AAAA for all sports, then partially won an appeal to the GHSA and are AAA for football, AAAA for everything else. Fitzgerald remained AA and for at least the next two years, the only common regular season thread is Berrien.

  Cook and Berrien, eternal rivals, was a game that was almost a necessity. The two have only missed each other twice since 1947. According to the schedule released by Cook High, the two will duel in Adel Sept. 5.

  After a scrimmage with Brooks, the Hornets have an open week. That's when the schedule really gets off to a bang as they travel to Tift County Aug. 29 for a date with the Blue Devils. Formerly in the same region, the two have only faced each other four times since 1965. Sept. 12 opens the region with a home game against Pierce County. They are 9-3 all-time against the Bears.

  The Hornets are unfamiliar with the Sept. 19 foe, Islands, but so is everyone else. The Sharks are playing their first season of varsity football. This contest is in Savannah. Another long trip awaits Sept. 26 as they play Brantley County at Nahunta. The Herons have not come closer than 39 points in the last five meetings. Oct. 3 brings the Tattnall County Battle Creek Warriors in for the inaugural encounter between the two. Oct. 10 takes to Lyons to play Toombs  County.

  The regular season schedule wraps with a home game against the much more familiar Appling County Pirates on Oct. 17 before they go to Eastman Oct. 24 to play Dodge County. Cook gets another open week, then has a region playoff scheduled Nov. 7.

  The team-released schedule for Fitzgerald is much more recognizable. They lead off with a scrimmage at Hawkinsville before jumping into their season Aug. 22 at Worth County. The 'Canes have an 11-10 lead in the series, which returns after a two-year break.

  The only brand new opponent on the list is played on a Saturday, Oct. 30, when they play the Heard County Braves at Mercer University. Heard was 10-2 in 2013, falling to Jefferson in the second round.

  After rounding up Heard, it is time for their traditional rivalry, a home game with the Irwin County Indians on Sept. 5. The 20-20 tie in 2013 was just the third in history in a feud that has been annual since 1954. Getting a week off following that game, they play just their third game ever against Macon County Sept. 19 at Montezuma. Fitzgerald is 2-0.

  Region begins Sept. 26 at Early County, followed by a home contest Oct. 3 against the Thomasville Bulldogs. With another week of rest coming, they wait until Oct. 17 for the next game, this one against the defending semifinalist Brooks County Trojans.

  Oct. 24 brings the Pelham Hornets to town, then a Halloween home game against Berrien. The season wraps with the longest trip on the schedule, one to Donalsonville and the Seminole County Indians.

 

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