A trip Wednesday to football practice at Brunswick High or Glynn Academy would reveal nothing really special in terms of preparation for Friday’s game between the crosstown rivals at Glynn County Stadium. There was no blaring of the opposition’s fight song, no tackling dummies wearing an opposing jersey.
It was just two teams getting ready to play a football game.
“I don’t focus on (rivalries). I just worry about the things we need to do to win,” said Glynn Academy head coach Rocky Hidalgo after practice. “My job is to prepare the team to win. I’ll let everyone else worry about rivalries.”
The game, not the rivalry, was also the focus for the Pirates and first-year coach Sean Pender. Friday’s game isn’t just a rivalry game between two schools in the same city, it’s also a Region 2-6A game between two teams with perfect region records.
“If you want to be champions, you have to win every region game,” Pender said. “Right now, Glynn is our next opponent and they are a region opponent. They are a must win in order for us to have a chance to win a region title.”
Still, as both teams go through their typical preparations, Pender said he could sense the excitement in the air for the City Championship. Pender has coached in rivalry games in his previous coaching stops at Pierce County and Brantley County, but it will be his first time in a rivalry as big as Brunswick-Glynn.
“This is the first time I’ve been a part of a rivalry where it’s two teams in the same city,” Pender said. “With both teams being Class 6A schools and ranked in the top 10, there’s going to be a lot of energy and excitement.”
The Pirates enter Friday’s game with a slim lead in the head-to-head series between the two schools. According to the Georgia High School Football Historians Association website, Brunswick holds a 37-34-2 advantage in a series that started in 1968. The schools played twice in one season for a large portion of the series, with the practice coming to an end in the mid 1990s.
In those 73 games, there have been large winning streaks from both squads. The Terrors won the eight of the 10 meetings with two ties thrown in. Brunswick picked up its first victory over Glynn in 1974, and started a winning streak of its own.
Right now, it’s the Terrors in control of the series. Glynn has won the last three contests between the schools with two close games in 2014 and 2016 sandwiching a 28-0 blowout in 2015.
Both squads enter this year’s contest with a ton of momentum. The Pirates bounced back from losing their season opener at Coffee with four straight wins, including a 64-21 dissection of previous undefeated Bradwell Institute last week to start region play.
The Terrors started the season 1-2 with losses to Benedictine and Tift County, two teams that are a combined 13-0 this season. Since then, the Terrors have found a groove on offense, defeating Wayne County 38-27 and Effingham County 48-27 on the road.
With the potential more than 10,000 people in the stands Friday, Pender said the game will have a playoff atmosphere.
“It is going to be great for both us and GA,” Pender said. “I really see us as two playoff-caliber teams and because of this game, we’ll both have been in this situation. Some people are like ‘This game is do or die.’ That’s what it is in the playoffs — you either win or go home. You’re going to have that feeling and that effort going on in this game and it’s going to be an exciting, hard-hitting game. It’s going to be great for both teams.”
So what’s it going to take for the Pirates or Terrors to pull out the win Friday? For Hidalgo, it’s a simple formula.
“The team that plays well and makes the least amount of mistakes is going to win the game,” Hidalgo said.