Rutherford and Bay is this week's Game of the Week

There's a big rivalry game set for Friday night, and it's one that dates back to 1963.

Rutherford and Bay will meet in this week's Personal Attention Dental Center Game of the Week.

These two schools separated by a few miles down 11th St. in Panama City.

The rosters populated with kids who have grown up playing with, and against each other in pee wee ball.

Bay's coach Mike Watkins is new to this series, a south Florida transplant coaching his second season with the Tornadoes.

Rutherford's coach, Loren Tillman, in his first season coaching the Rams, well he's rather acquainted with the rivalry, being he's a graduate of Rutherford!

He understands this series isn't what it used to be in some ways.

"When they were playing to see who was going to be playing in the state final game and there were ten thousand people in Tommy Oliver Stadium, if you compare it to that, it's probably not like it was right then," Loren Tillman, Rutherford football coach said. "It was just because of where the teams were and the programs were. As far as the passion in my heart and the kids that are playing, it's just like it was then and in the future."

"I'm sure it does to the kids," Mike Watkins, Bay football coach said. "Hopefully that amps the game and the atmosphere up a little bit. As far as me personally, it's X's and O's, going out there and trying to compete and put my guys in a winning situation."

Granted, with the lack of success these two programs have had in recent seasons, well this game just doesn't seem to carry the weight it used in this community.

Still to the players involved, who have grown in and around the same neighborhoods, it means a lot.

As for the X's and O's, Bay's coming off a lopsided loss to Crestview, and looking for improvement.

The Rams coming off a 20-12 win over North Bay Haven, but also looking to get better.

One player to watch closely in this one at Gavlak Friday night, Rutherford's quarterback, KD Heard #2, 230 yards and three touchdown's in last week's opener, and playing defense, he's doing it all for the Rams.

"He is," Tillman said. "We've been asking too much of him honestly. You know, playing on the offensive side and defensive side, running the football, throwing the football, we have to have some others step up and go 'hey, we'll take some minutes on the defensive side to let him focus on some of the things he's doing on the offensive side.'"

"Obviously he's a guy that they focus on trying to get the ball," Watkins said. "He's a play maker so he'll be a focal point of our preparation and practice plan. But again, they do a lot of creative things to try to free him up, and have done a good job with him, getting him space and letting him make some plays."

That game Friday at Gavlak set for 7 o'clock.