They say football is religion in the South. Well, if that’s true then the Liberty vs. Bradwell game is like a church homecoming for me. This Friday is the annual “cat fight” so to speak, as the Tigers battle the Panthers yet again to see who will walk away the champion. The game has always been a highlight during football season for Liberty County. Most people will tell you they’d rather watch college than pro football, but hometown football beats everything in the South. As a community, we’re all invested in the Liberty vs. Bradwell game. It’s like a family reunion, we may have all branched out over the years but this game brings us all right back!
Watching the Bradwell Tigers and the Liberty Panthers duke it out has always been a chance for everyone to get together and enjoy a good ol’ fashioned hometown rivalry. And for a majority of those years, it was a chance for Bradwell students to rib Liberty students since the score board seemed to only work on their side. But it was always in good spirits that we watched the game, it didn’t matter who won.
I remember going to the games with my family from a very young age. All five of us would walk down General Stewart to Olvey Field, like it was the Super Bowl. Only in a small town can you tote a baby, a toddler and six-year-old across four lanes of highway without worry! We’d eat at the concession stand for dinner. My dad was almost always behind the grill of the concession stand, careful to hide away some ribs he cooked for the parents and volunteers. All the teachers and students loved coming by to say hello to “Mrs. Walden’s little kids.” She’d take a break from cheering on the Panthers to ask her students “Do you have your Chemistry book with you tonight? You can work problems between plays, ya know?” I remember so many students over the years, whether they were on the field, or in the stands.
Eventually, my brothers and I grew up and participated in the game ourselves. The first time Liberty beat Bradwell, my brother Cody was the ball boy. He was just as excited, if not more, than any player on the team. He’d been to every game- it was a victory for him, too! After 9 long years of playing, and losing, Liberty finally won. Calling it a red-letter day wouldn’t do justice to this enormous feat. One of my first games cheering for Liberty was at this very game! I don’t even remember who won, all I remember is how much fun I had cheering on the same field I’d watch so many others play, cheers and perform on. I had finally become part of the game instead of a bystander.
Going back to the game now, it still feels like a big family reunion. The sounds of a high school band will always bring back memories of this game, and I get excited every time I hear the drumline start playing. Many of my friends and family are teachers and a few of those cheerleaders, football players and band members I looked up to as a child, have kids playing in the game. Every once in a while, I still see someone and remember them in their uniform, or with a letter painted on their chest. While there may be new stadiums, new football players and new uniforms, the game is still the same. It’s a homecoming for everyone in our community and you’ll have a hard time not running into your old classmates or teachers when you go this Friday!
-Erin Johnson, Creative & Content Manager for the Liberty County CVB
The Right Blend Blog is written by two different authors employed by the Liberty County Chamber/CVB. As we are able, we rotate weeks and each writes about our individual experiences, opinions and let our writing reflect our personalities and creativity. All content provided on The Right Blend blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site.