By Sonny Jones
Thursday Night Lights, anyone? That’s what it will be for the annual Battle for the Bell football game between county rivals East Bladen and West Bladen. It’s a move necessitated as Hurricane Ian makes landfall in Florida and works its way toward North Carolina.
Thursday’s game is scheduled for 7 p.m. at The Castle on the West Bladen campus.
It’s the second consecutive year the East-West game has been moved away from Friday. Last year, the game was played on a Tuesday in late September at Lenon Fisher Stadium because of COVID-19 protocols. Teams were juggling schedules depending on whether opponents were in quarantine. East Bladen, which won 16-8 last year, had not played played in 18 days while West Bladen had beaten Fairmont 14-12 three days earlier.
Thankfully, it’s been business as usual this season thus far. Friday Night Lights has been the norm. That streak will come to an end Thursday, but moving the game up a day is the correct decision and after two seasons of COVID-19 scheduling adjustments, including a seven-game spring season, it’s the least among many concerns going into the weekend.
• As for the game, East Bladen has won 20 straight since the Knights won the first meeting 34-21 in 2001. The winner keeps the bell for another season. It sits comfortably at the entrance to East Bladen. West Bladen would like to give it a new home.
• Neither team is enjoying a banner season. Each has won only once. Both need a victory Thursday to remain in playoff contention going into the final four weeks of the regular season.
WEDNESDAY’S PICK TO CLICK
This time I really, really, really mean it. Aaron Judge hits home run No. 61 to tie Roger Maris for the American League single-season record when the Yankees play at Toronto. The pick will look brilliant when Judge hits it.
TUESDAY’S PICK: OK, this time for real. This is the night. Aaron Judge hits home run No. 61 to tie Roger Maris for the American League single-season record when the Yankees play at Toronto. RESULTS: Judge was 0-for-1, scored twice and was walked four times in New York’s 5-2 win.
TODAY IN SPORTS HISTORY
• 1920 — A Chicago grand jury indicts eight members of the Chicago White Sox on charges of fixing the 1919 World Series, known as the “Black Sox Scandal.”
WHAT TO WATCH TODAY
• MLB: Cincinnati at Pittsburgh, 12:30 p.m., MLBN
• MLB: NY Yankees at Toronto, 7 p.m., MLBN
• WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: United States vs. Serbia, 10 p.m., ESPNU