Rivalries are always fun when it comes to athletics.
There’s something special about our team against your team. Our town against your town. Or in the case of Winder-Barrow High School and Apalachee High School, it comes down to “our part of town against your part of town.”
The Wildcats and the Bulldoggs will meet again in the athletic arena Friday, this time on the basketball court. The season is shaping up to be a special one for the AHS boys basketball team. While WBHS is struggling somewhat, the Bulldoggs would love nothing better than to hand the Wildcats a loss Friday night in the “Dogg House.”
AHS coach Kevin Morris is always ready for any opponent and his enthusiasm for the game carries over to his players. WBHS coach Ron Garren is a local coaching icon and his return to the Bulldogg program this season was big news during the offseason.
On paper, AHS should win the game. The Wildcats defeated the Bulldoggs 71-47 on Dec. 21 and a win Friday would give AHS a season sweep. Morris has his team in position for a deep run in the upcoming region tournament and no doubt the coach will remind his players not to overlook their county rival.
On the girls side, the Lady Wildcats have been experiencing some growing pains this season. Two of the team’s top players transferred leaving the program with a young team that has been learning as it goes in 2013-2014.
The WBHS Lady Bulldoggs, meanwhile, have enjoyed some success this season but they are still building as well. The game was somewhat close in the first meeting and no doubt it will be that way again Friday.
What makes the WBHS-AHS rivalry somewhat unique is the fact that Barrow County does not have the number of schools that neighboring Gwinnett does. With so many schools in Gwinnett, it seems a local rivalry wouldn’t mean as much.
When AHS says it’s going to play its local rival then it means WBHS. The same goes for WBHS. What adds to the rivalry is the fact that both schools have been in the same region for several years. It’s one thing to want to defeat your county rival, it’s another to know you have to beat them because it counts in the region standings.
The Bulldoggs and Wildcats, as well as the Lady Bulldoggs and Lady Wildcats, will write another chapter in their rivalry Friday. The gym is typically full for this event as the fans get in on the bragging as well.
Upsets are always possible in situations of this nature and it will be fun to see what the opposing coaches throw at one another — figuratively, not literally — Friday in the Dogg House.
Chris Bridges is sports editor of the Barrow Journal. Send comments about this column to firstname.lastname@example.org.