The brief, mismatched football series between Whale Branch Early College High School and Bluffton High School will end after Friday night. But the Warriors will continue to take advantage other natural rivalries.
Whale Branch will move to Class 2-A in 2014. It plans to add Beaufort High School, which will drop to 3-A.
Warriors coach Jerry Hatcher doesn't want to beat up his team before region play. Adding too many larger, deeper schools to the schedule would do that. So Bluffton is out.
But for two seasons, the Warriors were happy to oblige. Hatcher gets along well with Bobcats coach Ken Cribb. The gate from the local game is hard to turn down.
"Those bleachers won't hold what Bluffton brings Friday night," Hatcher said Wednesday after practice, pointing to the visiting stands. "They'll be on this side and on the fence. It will be the same thing with Beaufort."
"We had a big crowd with Battery Creek. That was a true rivalry game last year. I didn't expect it to be like that, and I don't think our kids did either. We're developing a little bit of rivalry games."
Hatcher doesn't think his team has the depth to scare Bluffton. The Warriors lost 50-0 in 2012 after the Bobcats jumped up early at home.
But the Week 0 contest should provide an early gut check. And the extra cash won't hurt.