Bradley Central Coaches Recall History of Rivalry With Cleveland
Cleveland, TN-(WDEF) Bradley Central and Cleveland renew their rivalry on Friday.
A trio of Bears coaches know all about this annual showdown.
Head coach Damon Floyd, and assistants Keith Freeman and Scott Ford all attended high school in Bradley County, and they’re familiar with the history and intensity of this rivalry.
Bears head coach Damon Floyd graduated from Bradley Central in ’96, but the Cleveland rivalry was suspended at the time.
Said Floyd:”You know it’s probably a good thing we didn’t play them. Obviously they were very good in the 90’s when they set the record on wins in consecutive games.”
In 1991, Cleveland beat Bradley 75-8, which later led to the rivalry suspension for ten years.
Bears offensive coordinator Keith Freeman graduated from Cleveland in 1982.
He recalls the emotions this rivalry used to stir up.
Said Freeman:”There would be a caravan from Bradley High School to Cleveland, and there would be a caravan from Cleveland to Bradley high school. You would pass each other on Keith Street. It got to where students were messing with other players cars. You know keying the cars and things like that. It just got out of hand.”
There’s still some playful mischief between the rivals.
Said Freeman:”Somebody going to Cleveland and painting on the (former) dome. Of course for us, they paint the Bear. We have a bear in the front of our school. It’s really good because our Bear gets a new paint job every year, so that’s kind of the benefit of that.”
While the Bear gets a paint job, the helmets get paint chips from this rivalry clash.
Said linebackers coach Scott Ford who graduated from Bradly in 1987:”Just getting to hit somebody in blue is always a good thing to do, so we like that. When they are on the field, and the first whistle blows, I think the intensity is as great as it ever was.”
Coach Floyd’s first win over Cleveland in 2009 was a watershed moment.
Floyd:”It was the first time in 21 years that we had beaten them. That really set our program up and let our kids know hey, we can compete at a high level because Cleveland has done it year in and year out.”