Jeremy Mug

Imagine an empty Hog Mountain Bowl. Imagine the Backyard Brawl without the witty banter across the field. COVID-19 has us all considering those possibilities. Who actually knows what late August will look like? I’ll answer that for you. There’s nobody who is certain of what the 2020 high school football season will look outside the higher powers to be.

Covid-19 is on the minds of everyone today. That won’t change by August. None of that keeps me from hoping. Hope remains that a season will be played. I couldn’t help by grin from ear-to-ear when I saw the Georgia High School Association post the schedules for all of the football programs across the state. Of course my eyes went right to three classifications that represent the four high schools that are located in the county.

That’s right, there are now three classifications for the four schools in the county. North Oconee High School and Oconee County High School’s reign as region rivals has come to an end. NOHS will remain in 4A while OCHS has slid to 3A where they last played in 2015. That won’t make the first game of the season any less exciting. The final game of the 2019 season saw the Warriors thump the Titans to win Region 8-4A. We all know the rest of the Warriors’ story but the Titans have been an improving program over the last four seasons under Tyler Aurandt.

Opening the season with a matchup with a state runner-up that happens to be the team five miles down the street is intriguing for me as a sports fan and as a reporter.

I get to build up that battle all offseason.

It’s also a time for the Titans to make their statement and set the tone for their season the way the Warriors did in 2019 with their win over Jefferson. We’ll find out what both programs have in store for 2020 very quickly in that matchup even if it really doesn’t determine anything except bragging rights.

But isn’t that what sports are about? I digress for now. Both OCHS and NOHS have big games late that should be pivot points of their seasons. The Titans have two teams that they will inevitably have to beat lie just to the north of Oconee County. Flowery Branch High School and Jefferson High School will be threats every single season as they have been in every classification they’ve been in for the last decade. Okay we understand that. With that being said, if the Titans do beat both teams there shouldn’t be much that surprises them in the Class 4A playoffs.The Warriors will go toe-to-toe with Hart County High School on Oct. 9 at home. They will travel to Monroe Area High School on Oct. 23. Those games will decide the region.

The two Class A Private schools in the county have their annual Backyard Brawl to look forward to in mid October. That will likely be for a region championship. I love good quarterback play so that game catches my eye as well as PACS’ week two matchup at Rabun County. The game is set to broadcast on ESPN. RCHS quarterback Gunner Stockton is a really good player and we all know Brock Vandagriff can play at this point.

The thoughts of fall ball gives me chills, but if we need to wait we should do so even though it burns.

Jeremy Johnson is the sports editor for The Oconee Enterprise. Opinions expressed are those of the writer.

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