I began writing this column with the intention of righting a wrong that has been going on for years. I was going to affect change, change we could all believe in:
Central versus Carver in a regular-season game.
Was that too much to ask? Isn’t that something we’d all like to see? Arguably the two premier high school football teams in the Bi-City area, which face off in an annual exhibition game, finally making the jump to the regular season. Playing a game that really, really means something.
After all, now seems like the right time to do it, right? Carver just moved up to Class AAAAA in Georgia and is looking for one more opponent to fill out its 2014-15 non-region schedule. Central just got bumped to the brand new Class 7A, voted into existence by Alabama High School Athletics Association officials on Wednesday, and hasn’t had a chance to make any non-region appointments yet.
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It seems a perfect storm to see these two storied programs, chock-full of impressive talent, make their contest official.
And then I talked to Central principal Tommy Vickers, and I get the feeling it isn’t on the radar.
Not now. Maybe not ever.
To be clear, Vickers didn’t say he wouldn’t like to see it as a regular-season game. On the contrary, he stated that he thought Red Devils coach Woodrow Lowe would actually like the game in the regular season. It is competitive and provides good preparation for his team’s rigorous region slate.
One problem, as with many situations, is money.
Every year, the preseason jamboree between the two teams brings in good revenue, Vickers said. Carver fans, right across the river, travel en masse to Garrett-Harrison Stadium, where a large contingent of Central fans awaits.
While many preseason games (read: games that don’t count) aren’t as widely attended, this one gets a crowd comparable to most regular-season games. Add that to Central’s five other home games, and both teams are coming out in good shape monetarily.
Add that game to the regular season and you run the risk of decreasing the season’s overall pull.
The other issue is scheduling.
Carver begins its season every year with an even bigger rivalry, the Heritage Classic with Spencer High at A.J. McClung Memorial Stadium. Because Georgia football begins a week after Alabama, the Aug. 21-23 weekend is not an option. The next week is Carver-Spencer, which would push Carver-Central further into the regular season after Central has already begun region play.
Probably not an option.
Central is looking at potential matchups with other Georgia AAAAA teams like Harris County, Shaw or LaGrange. At this point, those look like pretty decent options.
But it won’t be Carver.
Not for the foreseeable future.