WARNER ROBINS -- This is the night when legacies are cemented.
When reputations are earned.
When legends are made.
This is The Game.
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Separated by about five miles and Watson Boulevard, two bitter rivals will square off again Friday for the 54th time.
Warner Robins has won 33 times. Northside has won 10 of the past 13 meetings.
“Most people from here end up living here because it’s a great community,” said Kevin Kinsler, who played in three of these rivalry games and now serves as Northside’s head coach. “These games stick with you the rest of your life.”
It would be hard to find a Warner Robins lifer who doesn’t remember a key player or their impressive feats.
Players like James Brooks, Chansi Stuckey, Willie Reid, Ron Simmons and Marques Ivory lived up to their hype with impressive showings in this game. Former Gov. Sonny Perdue had a big night in the first game between the teams, and he still holds the Demons’ record for single-game passing yardage in the series.
Others who may not have the same statewide notoriety will forever be etched in the fans’ memories thanks to timely performances in this game.
“Guys want to make big plays in that game,” Warner Robins senior Brian Sutton said two weeks ago. “That’s our moment, that game.”
A series filed with big moments and memories has showcased many classic games.
Northside beat Warner Robins in 1989 when the Demons were ranked No. 1 in the nation.
Warner Robins came from 20 points down in the fourth quarter to beat undefeated and second-ranked Northside 21-20 in 2009.
For the first time since 2006, both teams enter the big game on a high note and expectations are high for both teams. A packed McConnell-Talbert Stadiumon Friday night could bear witness to another historic game in the series.
“You lose a game like that; you don’t forget about it,” Northside senior Taz Thomas said. “We played for the state championship in 2009. I remember the (Warner Robins) loss more. I’m still not over it. I don’t think I’ll get over it.”