Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Valdosta a Test for Brunswick; Pirates Have Never Beaten Wildcats in Three Chances

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Valdosta a Test for Brunswick; Pirates Have Never Beaten Wildcats in Three Chances

Article excerpt

Byline: KEVIN PRICE

BRUNSWICK - Brunswick football coach Victor Floyd claims his Pirates know little or nothing about the rich history of Valdosta's program.

"They don't know all that stuff," said Floyd, referring to the Wildcats' six national championships, 23 state titles and their status as the nation's winningest high school program.

"They don't know as much as the kids who are older than them might, and that's probably a good thing."

What the Pirates do know is that they have never beaten the storied Wildcats, having dropped all three of their previous meetings against them, all of which came in the state playoffs.

On Friday night at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium in Valdosta, Brunswick (2-1) can make history if it could pull out what would be considered an upset of the Wildcats (3-0), who are currently ranked No. 7 in Class AAAAA.

The Pirates, who compete in Class AAAA, have already beaten Coffee, which also plays in Region 1-AAAAA with Valdosta, 20-7 in their season opener on Aug. 20.

"The kids know it's a big game," Floyd said. "They know it's a big challenge, but I think they're ready to take it on."

The teams last met in 1996 in the second round of the Class AAAA playoffs with the Wildcats winning 40-13 in Valdosta.

Before that, Brunswick fell to Valdosta 28-8 at home in the opening round in 1994 and lost its first-ever contest against the Wildcats 42-0 in Valdosta in the quarterfinals of the 1989 season.

All three losses came to Valdosta teams coached by Nick Hyder, one of the coaching legends in Georgia's high school ranks.

"I always loved Nick," said former Brunswick coach John Willis, who was on the sidelines for each of the Pirates' previous matchups with Valdosta. "We used to talk about building a program and getting people to believe in what you're doing. He was a fabulous coach. He proved that."

Willis said he won't be making the trip with the Pirates to Valdosta for their final non-region game of the season.

However, he plans to be rooting on his old team as he listens to the game on the radio back home.

"It would put a feather in [Floyd's] cap if they could win," Willis said. …

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