FITZGERALD, GA (WALB) - When two schools are separated by less than ten miles, it's easy to see why it is a rivalry. There are few rivalries bigger in this area of the state than Fitzgerald and Irwin County.
Friday's matchup in Fitzgerald marks the 61st game between the schools, and this is a rivalry that has been dominated by the Canes is recent memory.
Fitzgerald is unbeaten against the Indians since 1999, including last season's 20-20 tie.
"Everyone has their own, I wouldn't call it beef, but I would say competition, against the other side of the town over there," laughs Fitzgerald QB/DB Gerald Morgan. "We see each other a lot. Every time we get around each other, we always talk a lot about the next game and all the stats that we had."
The Indians hope new coach Buddy Nobles will be the one to break that streak. He knows the Hurricane well, serving as the Fitzgerald offensive coordinator under former head coach Robby Pruitt.
Nobles still lives in Fitzgerald, and says this week is special for both sides.
"I've got a lot of friends at church and in the community that have been picking at me a little. That's what it's about. To me, it's a friendly rivalry," he says. "It's going to be different standing on that side and looking up at the purple and gold. But God blessed me and put me here in Ocilla and I'm proud to say I'm here and it's going to be fun to see this side of the rivalry."
They'll kick off at 7:30 Friday night at Jaycee Stadium.