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PREP FOOTBALL: Redskins to open Patton era with rivalry clash
Social Circle FB
Social Circle will travel to George Walton Academy on Friday to open the 2020 season. - Brett Fowler | The Walton Tribune

SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. — A new era of Social Circle High School football will get underway this Friday night when the Redskins travel to Monroe to take on George Walton Academy in the 2020 season opener.

It’s been three years since these two squared off and, despite the game being a rout, it was no less memorable. 

The Bulldogs won the meeting 26-0, and their final six points came on a touchdown pass inside the final minute of regulation. The ill will generated by that game put this series on pause. Now, three seasons removed, the young rivalry will resume Friday night at Don Williams Stadium under very different circumstances.

Unlike 2017, both teams are in Class A, the Redskins having dropped from Class AA. Both head coaches are also different with GWA’s Shane Davis entering his second season and Rob Patton starting his first at Social Circle.

“I was worried that [a season] wouldn’t happen, but I’m glad it’s here,” Patton said this week. “I’m just thankful that we got the opportunity for our kids. They’ve been working so hard under some crazy circumstances, so it’s nice to finally have a payoff for them.”

Perhaps the most notable difference between the last meeting and the one scheduled for this week will be the rosters. When they last met, GWA fielded a deep and seasoned team while the Redskins were young and inexperienced. 

The storyline is flipped this fall.

The Bulldogs have lost 26 seniors over the past two graduating classes and have just six 12th graders on the roster. Meanwhile, Social Circle returns the nucleus of last year’s squad, most notably on offense, where Walton County’s top receiver, Eric Taylor, and second best-passer, Logan Cross, are back.

Social Circle has been working to install a revamped ‘air raid’ attack under new offensive coordinator Jimmy Jarrett, who came over from Loganville High School. While some growing pains are to be expected, Patton wants to see his Redskins focus on their fundamentals and “control what they can control” in their first test run Friday.

“I just want them to do what’s expected of them, do it to the best of their ability, then line up and do it again,” he said.

The Redskins have never beaten the Bulldogs in four tries, losing by an average of 28 points. At least on paper, they appear to have the resources to turn things around. 

“The kids have done everything that we’ve asked of them,” Patton said. “I think they’re as prepared as they can be going into the situation.”

Friday night’s game is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m.

David Johnson, correspondent for The Walton Tribune, contributed to this report.