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Lancaster County junior varsity football will be center stage when the annual Bear Hug Brawl Junior Varsity Kickoff is played Saturday, Aug. 23 at Buford High School’s Jackets Stadium.
The junior varsity football kickoff, which showcases all the Lancaster County junior varsity football teams and cheer squads, is played in memory of Seth Muennich, the late Buford High School junior varsity football player who died in an auto accident three years ago.
Proceeds from the event benefit Seth’s Giving Tree, the Seth Muennich Foundation, which was begun in memory of the Junior Jackets’ player.
“There seems to be a little more excitement this year,” said Lisa Muennich, Seth’s mother, who noted several reasons.
“I know our sponsorships are up and it might be related to the fact we have new coaches at Lancaster High School and Buford,” she said.
On a personal note, Muennich noted her son, Tanner, a BHS freshman, will be playing in the Jayvee Kickoff with the Junior Jackets on Saturday.
“This is also special because Seth would be in his senior season this year and he and Tanner would be out there together with the football teams,” she said. “It’s all about the kids.”
The Bear Hug Brawl gets its name for Seth Muennich, who was known for his physical embraces.
“Seth was a hard worker and always gave his best shot,” Buford High School coach Tripp Watts said. “He battled against Marcus Brown in practice and worked hard.”
Brown, who played in the North-South All-Star game in Myrtle Beach following a stellar football career at BHS, now plays at Newberry College.
“It says a lot for our county about the respect they have for Seth,” Watts said. “We have our share of rivalries in the county, but we all come together in memory of Seth.”
Following a short opening ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday, play opens with Kickoff host Buford battling Andrew Jackson.
Lancaster meets Indian Land at 11 a.m. The clash at noon has Indian Land playing Andrew Jackson and the final game has Lancaster meeting Andrew Jackson at 1 p.m.
“This event is good for the junior varsity teams,” Watts said. “These guys don’t get a lot of scrimmage work against other teams.
“I think this is a good opportunity for these teams to work out the kinks before their openers next week.”
“It’s a good opportunity for these young players to be in a game-like situation,” Buford High School athletics director Mike Wells said.
In addition to football, an award will be presented to the junior varsity cheer squad for their enthusiasm, character and teamwork during the scrimmages.
Andrew Jackson won the cheer award in the first Kickoff, with Lancaster winning last season.
The Jayvee Kickoff also will include inflatables and a dunk tank.
A new attraction is the cold water challenge.
“That will be for a donation of $10, but you can donate more if you want,” Lisa Muennich said.
“A kicking contest will be held at halftime,” she added.
Carolina Panthers mascot Sir Purr will attend along with Seth’s Bear mascot.
“We will have plenty of food and drinks and a lot of fun all for a good cause,” she said.