October 25, 2020

Support and fellowship dominates Heard-Temple rivalry

(Franklin, GA) — It is only fitting that when the Heard County Braves (4-1) host the Temple Tigers (4-0) Friday night, the game will have the extra luster of being Fox 5 Atlanta’s High 5 Sports Game of the Week.

It seems any time these two schools get together for a big game that something special is going to happen. Several times over the past six years the two schools and communities have helped support one another in times of tragedy and in times of triumph.

While the Braves have dominated the scoreboard in football each of those six years, the good will and fellowship has been equally abundant among both schools.

A Temple Tiger presents Brave Spencer Hannah a "Do RIght" Award during a special pregame ceremony.

A Temple Tiger presents Brave Spencer Hannah a “Do Right” Award in 2013.

It all began in October of 2010 when the two varsity football teams met for the first time since 2003 in a new Region 5-AA match-up after GHSA reclassification and realignment.

The two teams were scheduled to play on October 8 at Staples Stadium when tragedy struck Temple High School on Monday, October 4 of 2010.

A school bus carrying 13 students from Temple High School was traveling south on Highway 113 between Temple and Carrollton about 2 p.m. that day when it left the roadway and crashed into a ditch.

A 17-year-old Temple football player, James Rashawn “Ray Ray” Walker was killed in the crash.

In a show of support that Friday night at Staples Stadium, the Brave Nation rolled out the red carpet for the grieving Temple Tigers with special banners and signs honoring Ray Ray as the visiting fans entered the stadium.

The marching bands from both schools also came together during a special pregame ceremony to honor Ray Ray with a moving rendition of ‘Amazing Grace.’

Temple High School returned that favor in 2015 after the Brave Nation had suffered the loss of senior drum major Lilly Scott in an auto accident.

Again the marching bands performed a special Halloween themed halftime show together at Temple High School as the Brave Nation mourned.

The stories of fellowship and support among the schools doesn’t end with these two incidents as there have been several other magical moments with some involving triumph rather that tragedy.

In 2013, the Tigers presented a special “Do Right” award to senior Brave Spencer Hannah who was unable to compete in the game that night after being badly burned in a bonfire accident.

Another memorable moment occurred during a Brave win over the Tigers at Staples Stadium in 2012. With only a couple of minutes to go in the one-sided contest, then Temple head coach Seth Rogers approached Brave head coach Tim Barron to explain a situation with one of his sophomore players, Devin Moore, a physically challenged player on his squad.

Rogers was wanting to put Moore into the game just to be able to get him in the action and talked with Barron about asking his guys not to injure him. Coach Barron suggested they go one step further and let Moore carry the ball for a touchdown.

What ensued was one of the most inspiring moments you could ever hope to see in a high school atmosphere. The inspiring play would go on to become Fox 5 Atlanta’s High 5 Sports ‘Play of the Week.’

The love and good will between Temple and Heard County has also carried over into other sports.

The best example would be at a varsity basketball game in Franklin in 2013 when a Brave Nation ‘Athlete of the Month’ Award was to be presented to young Heard County Special Olympics Athlete Emma Bradley.

Emma, who spends much of her time in a wheelchair, insisted on using her walker that night to make her way across the gym floor to receive her big honor as fans on both sides of the gym cheered “Let’s Go Emma!”

In the absence of the Braves cheerleaders, who were not scheduled to cheer at home that night, the visiting Temple High School cheerleaders stepped up to the plate in a big way to support Emma. The Tiger cheerleading squad started the loud chants for Emma making her already exciting moment even more memorable.

All of the above are examples of what is right about high school sports and shows the true caring and supportive nature of both the Heard County and Temple communities.

Tonight’s Region 5-AA football opener between the Braves and Tigers kicks off at 7:30 PM at Staples Stadium in Franklin.


  1. is fox 5 going to show the game or just be there for video

  2. Misty Stripling says

    Russ Massa this was an awesome article. We’ve only been in Temple 3 years, and had not heard some of these stories. Thank you for sharing.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: