By Brandon Carter | Byrnes Contributor
In what could be both teams biggest game of the regular season, the #2 ranked 5A team in the state, the Byrnes Rebels (4-0), travel to the always rowdy “Reservation” to face the #4 ranked Gaffney Indians (3-1).
The Byrnes and Gaffney rivalry has been a bitter one in recent years, as both programs have been perennial contenders for state titles for the past two decades. Don’t expect that to change this year, as both teams in the midst of another championship hunt.
The home of the Indians, “The Reservation” is expected to be packed out with over 8,000 fans in attendance. The atmosphere there will be a daunting one, and that could play a huge factor in Friday’s outcome.
“[Gaffney] is one of the toughest places to play in the state” Byrnes Head Coach Reggie Shaw said. “I expect it to be a tough, 4-quarter game on Friday between two great teams who want to go out and win”
Both teams are legitimate contenders for the state title and a win on Friday could really give either team a huge momentum boost for the season.
“This game is really important to us, it’s a huge rivalry game” Byrnes offensive lineman and USC commit Chuck Strickland said. “But we have to treat it like any other game if we want to win”
This matchup features two formidable defenses that are widely considered two of the best in the state. The defenses could easily dictate the outcome of the game. Both defenses get after the quarterback with Byrnes having 14 sacks on the year, and Gaffney having eight, and they also force plenty of turnovers with both teams having nine forced turnovers a piece.
Byrnes got the better of Gaffney last season, winning both matchups against the Indians, one in the regular season by a score of 34-14, and the other in the Upper-State Semi-final by a score of 27-22.
“I think losing both those games last year will motivate Gaffney to play even harder than they ever have” Coach Shaw said. “On the flipside, it also gives us confidence knowing we are capable of beating them”
With the win over Gaffney in last year’s playoff matchup, the Rebels tied the all-time series against the Indians at 17-17. The winner on Friday will gain the advantage on the all-time series.
Historically, these are two of the better football programs in the state, as they share 27 state championships between each other (Gaffney-16, Byrnes-11).
This game is one of the better rivalries in all of the state, and it will be renewed this Friday, September 27th at The Reservation in Gaffney, South Carolina, with kickoff set for 7:30.
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