October 23, 2017

It’s THE Friday Night in Franklin! A Pulpwood Classic VI Preview

(Franklin, GA) — The campus of Heard County High School will be abuzz today and tonight as the Braves host the arch rival Callaway Cavaliers in one of the most marquee Region 5-AA and state match-ups to ever be hosted at the campus.

The anticipation for the rivalry battle has been high all week because it quite simply has everything you could want or imagine for a big time game.

Gates will open at a special time of 6:00 PM for the game tonight and tickets are $8 each.

Below we explain the 10 reasons this is such a HUGE game at Staples Stadium tonight:

10 Things about The Pulpwood Classic VI

The Region 5-AA Crown and State Playoff Seeding — While the Region 5-AA trophy is not exactly on the line yet with several region games remaining on the schedule for both teams, it is very clear that the loser of tonight’s game won’t be the region champs and the winner most likely will be barring a sizable upset in the closing stretch of the season. With that championship also comes a very important top seed in the GHSA Class AA State Playoffs.

Geographic Rivalry — Just 18.6 miles separates the two schools today. That distance was slightly shorter at 15.2 miles when it was Hogansville High School. This is always a recipe for a strong rivalry and this case is no exception especially given the similarity in the size of the schools in addition to the recent successes of both programs. Callaway’s last losing season was in 2006 (5-6) and the Braves last losing season was in 2003 (5-6).

Historical Rivalry — Tonight will be the 43rd meeting between the two programs. The Hogansville Greenwave dominated the early years defeating Heard County 12 straight times before the Braves pulled off a dramatic Halloween win in 1986. The win that night was so improbable that many fans missed it after leaving the stadium before the finish. The Braves trailed 15-0 late in the fourth quarter before QB Darrell Stamey led his offense on two scoring drives both capped by two-point conversions to win 16-15. Under head coach Norris Vaughan, the Braves had finally broken the curse and earned the first win in the series. The series has been more competitive since that point but Callaway/Hogansville still leads the all-time series with a record of 28-14.

Coaching — Tim Barron of the Braves and Pete Wiggins of the Cavaliers are two of the most successful and longest tenured coaches in the state. Barron is 115-52 in his 16th season with the Braves and has made the state playoffs in all but his third season (6-4 in 2004). Wiggins has led the Cavs to a record of 110-40 in his 13 seasons and like Barron has also only missed the state playoffs one time in his first season (4-6 in 2005).

Top Prospects — The game will feature elite athletes on both sides of the ball especially on the Callaway side where almost 20 players have already been offered scholarships at the next level. The Braves have a smaller number of athletes offered but do boast one of the most highly-touted prospects in the nation in the form of senior quarterback Emory Jones, an Ohio State Buckeye commit that is still being chased by the most prominent SEC schools in the land.

Rankings — The game is receiving a lot of buzz statewide and rightly so as it features two of the top 10 teams in Class AA. The Braves are ranked No. 10 and the Cavs are ranked No. 2.

Media Coverage — The game is the featured Class AA Game of the Week by the AJC and will be broadcast live on the radio by B92.1 Country and Gradick Communications. Mitch Gray (Play-by-play) and Verland Best (Color commentary) will broadcast the game along with sideline reporter Clay Harden. The Tailgate Show will also be hosted live outside Staples Stadium by Coach Charles Jetmore, Coach Nathan Horsley, and host Matt Skinner beginning at 5:00 PM. Visit Gradick Sports on Facebook for some pregame talk courtesy of Jimmy Beck and Clay Harden.

The Atmosphere at Staples Stadium — The Heard County student section will pay homage to Friday the 13th with a “Fright Night” theme for their section and the Brave Nation will be out in full force for what is sure to be a sell-out crowd. Fans are advised to arrive very early for the game to obtain a quality seat. Brave ans are also encouraged to bring noise makers and be as loud as possible especially when the Braves are on defense. Gates open at 6:00 PM.

Who Will Get the Wood? — The Pulpwood Classic Trophy will be on the line for the sixth straight season. The Cavs have maintained possession of the trophy with wins in the last four meetings, but the Braves hope to keep the trophy in Franklin tonight for a senior class that has never touched it. The trophy was originally created to add luster to the match-up while the two teams were in different classifications several years ago.

Callaway’s Streaks — The Cavaliers enter the game not only with a four game winning streak over the Braves but an overall 25 game regular season winning streak. Their last regular season loss was in 2015 at Lagrange. The Braves will look to end both of these streaks tonight!

(Photo Courtesy of Rodney East)

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