There were a number of former Bradley Central and Cleveland high school football players who didn't get to participate in the rivalry, which was stopped from 1993 to 2001 due to issues in the community.
If they wanted a chance, they'll get that today.
With the help of a company called Southeastern Rivals, the programs were able to set up an alumni game at Bradley Central at 7:30 tonight. Gates open at 6.
Southeastern Rivals is a company that, according to its Facebook page, "provides alumni football games to small-town rivals. You always hear people that played football in high school say, on Friday nights, 'I wish I had one more chance to step on that field.' ... Here's their shot."
It hasn't been an easy process to get the game off the ground, though. Bradley coach Damon Floyd had various issues with potential dates for the event, and once it was booked, they found out it was the same day as former Bradley and Tennessee basketball standout Brittany Jackson's All-Star Celebrity game, which will take place at the same time at Jim Smiddy Arena on Bradley's campus.
Jackson's event will be headlined by notable professional athletes who are expected to include former NFL standout receiver Terrell Owens from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga; former Tennessee and Pro Bowl defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth; 2013 Pro Bowl defensive lineman Greg Hardy; former Lady Vols and WNBA standout Chamique Holdsclaw; and Devean George, who won three NBA rings as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers.
The football game will be used as a fundraiser for both high schools, but ticket sales haven't yielded the profit Floyd and Cleveland coach Ron Crawford were expecting, perhaps at least in part because of Jackson's simultaneous event.
"The only other open date that the company had available was our prom night," Floyd said. "Once we were able to book the date, we've had about three and a half weeks to get everything done."
The game will be played in four 15-minute quarters with all-star rules, meaning the teams can play only two coverages in the secondary and can't blitz linebackers. Participants had to pay a $100 fee to play, which covered equipment provided by Southeastern Rivals and insurance.
It will give a lot of former players one last opportunity to put pads on and participate in a Friday night atmosphere -- including Floyd, who prepped at Red Bank and Bradley before playing as a defensive back for UTC from 1996 to '99.
"They talked me into it," Floyd said. "I'm not trying to be a coach that doesn't practice what he preaches. I do workouts with the guys, and tomorrow I'm going to get out there with them."
Contact Gene Henley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6311. Follow him at twitter.com/genehenleytfp.