ELIZABETHTOWN — The unofficial start to high-school gridiron games is here.
High-school football fans in Bladen County will get the 2014 gridiron season kicked off on Friday when East Bladen High School hosts the fifth annual Buddy Burney Memorial Jamboree sponsored by Four County Electric.
The event will feature both of the Bladen County varsity teams, East Bladen and West Bladen, as well as the varsities from St. Pauls High and West Columbus High.
“We are very fortunate to have Four County sponsor this event, and we look forward to our first night of football at Lenon Fisher Stadium,” said East Bladen Athletics Director Patty Evers.
The Jamboree, which has seen its format change slightly from past years, will open at 7 p.m. with the host Eagles facing St. Pauls at one end of the field, while the Knights will take on West Columbus at the other end.
The teams will scrimmage until 8 p.m., with each offense getting 10 plays per series. After a 15-minute break, the scrimmage will continue until 9 p.m. with the same two matchups.
Admission to the event is $6 and no coolers will be allowed. The concession stand will be open.
The Knights of West Bladen are hoping to put together a second straight season of success after finishing with a 3-4 mark in the Four County Conference and 5-7 overall last season. After suffering through an 0-11 season in 2012, they made the state’s Class 2-A playoffs for the first time in a handful of of years in 2013. This season’s Knights are expected to show another balanced offense and a defense that will be geared to stop the run.
The Eagles of East Bladen look to continue its tradition of punching their ticket to the state’s Class 2-A playoffs with a heavy dose of an always solid ground game and stout defense. But that tradition took a big hit last year when East Bladen opened 1-5 before running off six straight wins before falling in the second round of the playoffs. The Eagles finished 5-2 in the conference and 7-6 overall.