Dwyer, Glades Central football agree to play each other on Labor Day; ESPN might televise game
Thursday, June 02, 2011
by Matt Porter
In recent seasons, Dwyer and Glades Central have left the state to play showcase games on ESPN. This fall the network might bring its spotlight to Palm Beach County for the area powerhouses' season-opening showdown.
The Panthers and Raiders were contacted Thursday about moving their game from Friday, Sept. 2 to 4 p.m. Monday, Sept. 5. And ESPN confirmed Thursday that it is considering televising the game on its flagship network. The Labor Day affair would be played at Effie C. Grear Field in Belle Glade.
After a year hiatus, the two nationally recognized teams will renew a young but heated rivalry. Dwyer is 38-4 over the last three seasons and won the 2009 Class 4A state title. Glades Central is 36-4 over the same stretch and a two-time state finalist. The Raiders have won six state titles in all.
After facing each other in Week 1 of the 2008 and 2009 seasons, both schools traveled last year to face different out-of-state opponents. Dwyer lost to Cleveland-Glenville on Labor Day in the ESPN-televised Kirk Herbstreit National Kickoff Classic, while Glades Central beat Dallas-Skyline the week before.
Glades Central appeared on ESPN in 2006, losing to Byrnes High in Duncan, S.C.
MaxPreps.com ranks Glades Central No. 14 in its pre-season top 25, while Dwyer is No. 17. Both schools said they're excited about the prospect of a nationally televised backyard brawl.
"It would be something special," Glades Central Athletic Director Edwin James said.
ESPN said "We are looking at a few options and that is one game. Nothing is finalized yet."
Also, Palm Beach County schools' administration must OK the moving of the game. However, given that the teams won't be traveling out of state for national TV exposure, Dwyer Athletic Director Tom Pagley expects everything to be finalized soon.
"It's cool," Pagley said. "Let's make this an annual event."
Of course, excitement is sky-high among players. Glades Central junior defensive back Crevon LeBlanc couldn't believe the news. "Really?" he said when told of the plans. "I don't even know what else to say. That's just an honor."
"Every year that we play, it was always a hard-fought game and it was close. They've always been competitive," LeBlanc said of Dwyer.
"I know they can bring it," said Dwyer junior wide receiver Julian Whigham. "It's gonna be a great game."
Dwyer coach Jack Daniels expects the whole operation - bright lights, multiple TV cameras and high-tempo on-field action - to run smoothly, except for one thing: "I think they're bringing in the Glenville refs," he said, joking about Dwyer's infamous loss last year.