Posted: 5:53 pm Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

Dwyer, Glades Central Labor Day game could be on ESPN 

By Matt Porter

Updated 10:35 p.m. | Dwyer and Glades Central have played games on ESPN in the past two seasons.

This fall, they might play each other on ESPN.  

The Panthers and Raiders were contacted Thursday about moving their season-opener from Friday, Sept. 2 to 4 p.m. Monday, Sept. 5, and ESPN confirmed that it is considering televising the game on its flagship network. The Labor Day affair would be played at Effie C. Grear Field in Belle Glade.

An ESPN spokesperson said in an email to the Post the network is “looking at a few options and that is one game” it could televise on Labor Day. “Nothing is finalized yet.” 

If ESPN decides to carry the game, it will be showing two nationally recognized teams will renew a young, but heated rivalry after a year hiatus. 

Dwyer is 38-4 over the last three seasons and won the 2009 Class 4A state title. Glades Central is 36-4 over the same stretch and a two-time state finalist. The Raiders have won six state titles. 

ESPN will carry a Labor Day matchup of two Palm Beach County powerhouses. (Post photos/illustration)

ESPN is looking at carrying a Labor Day matchup of two Palm Beach County powerhouses. (Post photos/illustration)

After facing each other in Week 1 of the 2008-10 seasons, both traveled last year to face different out-of-state opponents. Dwyer lost to Cleveland-Glenville on Labor Day in the ESPN-televised Kirk Herbstreit National Kickoff Classic, while Glades Central beat Dallas-Skyline the week before. 

Glades Central appeared on ESPN in 2006, losing to Byrnes High in Duncan, S.C.

MaxPreps.com ranks Glades Central No. 14 in its preseason top 25, while Dwyer is No. 17.

Both schools said they’re excited to play what is believed to be the first nationally televised game in Palm Beach County. 

“It would be something special,” Glades Central Athletic Director Edwin James said.

After ESPN gives its blessing, Palm Beach County Schools’ administration must OK the moving of the game. However, given that teams are not traveling out of state for national TV exposure, Dwyer Athletic Director Tom Pagley said that and other details would be soon set. 

“It’s cool,” Pagley said. “Let’s make this an annual event.”

Naturally, excitement is sky-high among players. Glades Central junior defensive back Crevon LeBlanc couldn’t believe the news. “Really?” he said when told of the plans. “I don’t even know what else to say. That’s just an honor.”

“Every year that we play, it was always a hard-fought game and it was close. They’ve always been competitive,” LeBlanc said of Dwyer. 

“I know they can bring it,” Dwyer junior wide receiver Julian Whigham. “It’s gonna be a great game.”

Dwyer coach Jack Daniels expected the whole operation – bright lights, multiple TV cameras and high-tempo on-field action – to run smoothly, except for one thing: “I think they’re bringing in the Glenville refs,” he said, joking about Dwyer’s infamous loss last year. 

Staff writer Jeff Greer contributed to this report.

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