JEFFERSON, Ga. - Football Fridays are always big in Jefferson, but this Friday's game against Flowery Branch is kind of special.
"It'll be like no other Friday night I've experienced as a head coach." said former Jefferson and current Flowery Branch head coach Ben Hall. "I'll admit, I'm going in there with some emotions you don't normally feel."
Hall, who spent eight years as both an assistant and head coach at Jefferson, brings his undefeated Falcons into Memorial Stadium for a 7:30 game that will be featured on the High 5 Sports Show at 11 p.m. The Falcons have been good on both sides of the ball so far in blowout wins over North Hall, Chestatee and Stephens County.
"We're not there yet." Hall told High 5 Sports, "We've got a good size up front and a tailback in Malik Damons who's rushed for almost 500 yards in our first three games."
But Hall knows that playing on the road in Memorial Stadium is hard to prepare for, especially when you only get one practice and a walk-through during the week because of weather issues caused by Tropical Storm Irma. Hall County schools have been on recess all week as cleanup continues, prompting Hall to petition for a full practice day on Wednesday which the county approved.
Jefferson City Schools were back in session Thursday, but head coach Gene Cathcart and his Dragons experienced a similar truncated practice week.
"It has affected our routine and their (Flowery Branch) routine and it will probably show with some confusion early, but it'll just be two teams that are pretty close together competing to win a key non-region game." Said Cathcart.
Catchart was hired to replace Hall as the nineteenth head coach in Jefferson Football history in January. His résumé includes 12 years as a head coach, over 100 wins and a state title in 2012 while coaching at Greenwood (S.C.).
The Dragons (2-1) won their first two games easily before losing 42-20 on the road against 2nd-ranked Thomson, but this game will stir the emotions of those Jefferson fans who knew Hall during his tenure at the school.
"Here at Jefferson, we're sort of "big-game" trained." Cathcart continued, "I think too much is made of it, but it will certainly add a little bit to the emotion and to the excitement of the evening. What it boils down to is neither one of us is gonna make a tackle, make a block or make a catch. Ultimately it's gonna come down to our kids."
Bill Hartman, "Super" Blaine Kummet and the High 5 Sports team will be at Memorial Stadium for pregame live coverage on FOX 5 News at 5 and 6, with game highlights and post-game interviews to follow on the big show at 11.