Both of Bryan County’s high schools have new head football coaches this year, and both will make their debut at home.
Allen Cartwright will face a familiar school on Aug. 21 in his first game, leading the Bryan County Redskins. BCHS will host Metter, where Cartwright was the offensive coordinator for the last two seasons.
Matt LeZotte’s inaugural game as Richmond Hill head coach will come two weeks later, when the Wildcats host Johnson on Sept. 4.
The Redskins’ season opener will be just a week after their Aug. 13 preseason scrimmage against Savannah Country Day. The early start will give Bryan County two weeks off during the regular season.
Conversely, the Wildcats will have three weeks to make adjustments between their Aug. 14 scrimmage at Camden County and their first game. The trade-off is Richmond Hill will play 10 games in 10 weeks, without a bye.
RHHS and BCHS each will have a televised Thursday-night game as WSAV’s high-school game of the week. Richmond Hill will host Statesboro on Oct. 8 and Bryan County will travel to McIntosh County Academy the following Thursday.
Looking to bounce back from last year’s 2-8 campaign, the Wildcats will have the benefit of six home games in LeZotte’s first season.
“It is an advantage, especially being my first year, that we have six home games,” LeZotte said. “We have very tough games on the road, but I’m glad to have the majority of our games on our home field.”
RHHS will play three of its first four games at Wildcat Stadium. A week after the Johnson game, Richmond Hill will open Region 3-AAAAA play at home against Bradwell Institute on Sept. 11. Glynn Academy, a state quarterfinalist last season, will visit on Sept. 25.
The Wildcats will host a pair of region foes in October, with the televised game against Statesboro on Oct. 8 and homecoming against Brunswick on Oct. 23. Richmond Hill will conclude the regular season with a non-region home game against Liberty County on Nov. 6.
The Wildcats’ four opponents away from home will include Region 3-AAAAA’s top two teams from last season. RHHS will play at Ware County, the defending region champion, on Sept. 18, and travel to face 2014 runner-up Coffee County on Oct. 30.
The other two road trips will be to Effingham. Richmond Hill will play at Effingham County on Oct. 2 and at South Effingham on Oct. 16.
“We play in arguably the toughest region in 5A,” LeZotte said. “Our team had a rocky season last year, but we have worked hard to change the mindset of our athletes in preparation for this schedule.”
The Thursday game against Statesboro will start at 7 p.m., with all the other games scheduled for 7:30 p.m. kickoffs.
The Redskins will play five games at home and five on the road in their bid to return to the state playoffs for the third straight season.
Bryan County, 5-6 a year ago, will have a bye week following the season opener against Metter. The Redskins will then hit the road for three straight games – at Claxton on Sept. 4, at Southeast Bulloch on Sept. 11 and their Region 2-AA opener at Groves on Sept. 18.
Region 2-AA’s three other state playoff teams from last season all will play at BCHS this year, starting with defending Class AA state champion Benedictine on Sept. 25. Following the Redskins’ second off week of the season, Bacon County will come to Pembroke on Oct. 9.
The regular-season finale will be at home against defending region champion and playoff quarterfinalist Vidalia on Nov. 6. The Redskins’ final seven games will be Region 2-AA contests.
Prior to facing Vidalia, Bryan County will play a three-game stretch against the three teams that occupied the bottom of the region standings last season. The TV game at McIntosh County Academy on Oct. 15 and a trip to Long County on Oct. 30 bookend a home game against Jeff Davis on Oct. 23.
The road games against MCA and Southeast Bulloch are set for 7 p.m. All other kickoff times will be 7:30 p.m.