FOX 54 XTRA POINT: Hancock Central, Warren Co. focus on football - WFXG FOX54 Augusta - Your News One Hour Earlier

FOX 54 XTRA POINT: Hancock Central, Warren Co. focus on football, moving forward

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There were handshakes, well wishes, and a prayer.

The pregame scene was much different than the one postgame last year for Hancock Central and Warren County.

After the Screaming Devils' 21-2 win in Sparta in 2011, a brawl broke out between the two teams outside the locker room.

During the melee, Warren Co. Head Coach David Daniel was allegedly struck in the face with a helmet, causing severe facial injuries.

In Warrenton Friday night, the two teams met on the field  for the first time, figuratively and literally, since the brawl.

"Lord God, we ask that it dies tonight," says the coach leading the two teams in prayer.

Both sides say last year's postgame antics were an unfortunate incident.

"It was a perfect storm," says Hancock Central Head Coach Zackery Harris. "Everything that needed to happen for that situation to occur did."

But both sides are putting the ugly incident behind them.

Friday night's showdown was not about the past, they say, but about moving forward.

Quite simply, they add, it's just about football.

"[The fight] is by no means a picture of what these two teams are and what these kids are," says Harris. "This-today-is moving forward."

"If everybody sees that these kids are playing good, hard-nosed football, and they're helping each other up, then everything should be erased," says Warren Co. Head Coach Fred Blount, who took over after Daniel suddenly retired in August due to complications from his injuries sustained during the fight.

It was a strange atmosphere. Sheriff's deputy vehicles from three counties surrounded the field. Fans of each school were kept on their team's side of the field, banned from walking to the other during the game.

But, the game went on, something not even guaranteed even two months ago.

It wasn't until August that Warren Co. Superintendent Carole Jean Carey backed off her promise to not allow the Screaming Devils to play the Bulldogs.

She only allowed the game to go on after certain security measures were agreed upon.

And Harris is glad Friday's game will be contested. 

"It had to happen," he says. "Had to. And I think it happening here, full circle."

For these two schools that are still fighting off the reputations and black eyes they've been saddled with after the nationally publicized brawl, Friday's game was seen as a chance for redemption and to show the world they've moved on.

"Hancock, Warren. Warren, Hancock. It doesn't really matter," the teams are told. "Tonight, it's about football."

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