SWAINSBORO, Ga. - If it was any other week of the football season, Capers Brazell would be just another dad watching his son practice with Swainsboro's football team.
But the elder Brazzell has been the target of friendly criticism from Swainsboro players and fans this week, even though his son Cameron, a senior starter at fullback for the Tigers, says his dad is a true Swainsboro fan.
Capers Brazzell resides in Swainsboro but commutes to his business each day in Washington County. Brazzell owns WaCo 100, an AM-FM station in Sandersville.
On Saturday, Capers Brazzell will be torn between two teams. Cameron Brazzell will start for the Tigers, while several of his Washington County friends will be on the opposite side when Swainsboro meets the Golden Hawks at 3 p.m. in the Class AAA state semifinals at the Georgia Dome.
"I told (Washington County) coach (Rick) Tomberlin I was going to kick his behind and then go down and kick (Swainsboro coach) Rayvan Teague's, too, for putting me in a bad situation," Brazzell said jokingly.
"I've known Rick longer than I've known Rayvan, and I think they're both classy guys and very good coaches. Rick just laughed and told me I had no trouble; I have to go with blood."
Most people in Swainsboro never think much about Brazzell's jacket that has WaCo 100 embroidered on it. However, it's caught everyone's attention this week.
"(Swainsboro players) have been spotting (the jacket) since last year, and the guys are like `Why do you wear that?"' Cameron Brazzell said. "Then he's got magnets on the side of his car that say WaCo 100. A guy on Wednesday looked at (dad's car) and caught it.
"My dad's back was turned, and he said, `Hey man, you think he'd get mad if I went and scratched that off and put a big Tiger paw beside it?' I was like, `he probably won't mind because he hadn't missed any of my games.' He's a true Tiger at heart."
For the past two years, the schools have met each other during the regular season and competed in Region 3-AA. When the Georgia High School Association reclassified its schools earlier this year, both teams were slated to play in Region 3-AAA.
But for financial and travel reasons, Swainsboro petitioned to join Region 2-AAA and later won its appeal.
During the regular-season game last year, the two met for what turned out to be the Region 3-AA championship. That week was when Swainsboro players first recognized Capers Brazzell's ties to Washington County.
"I'm sure people have noticed it before, but it kind of slips their mind," Cameron Brazzell said. "This week with us playing Washington County and all, it's more noticeable.
"I remember when we were playing Washington County last year, he wears his cowboy hat promoting his business, and everybody notices it. He had it on last year, and the Washington County people noticed him on our sidelines, and they were upset. It sticks out at nighttime, especially on our side where everybody has got on all black. The only thing white are our numbers and his hat."
Capers Brazzell said that the closer it gets to gametime on Saturday, the more heat he's likely to catch from both sides. But he doesn't mind; he likes the environment.
"I pull for kids," he said. "My feeling is after the game's over up in the Dome, adults should set an example by going and shaking hands with the other kids from the other team as well as their own team and congratulating them on a great year, whether they win or lose.
"I have some very good friends in Sandersville and some very good ones in Swainsboro. There's good people in both places. I catch flack from the Swainsboro people just like I catch it from Washington County people. But I look at it as a win-win situation. No matter which team wins, I'm going to be happy."
Reach Tim Morse at (706) 823-3216 or firstname.lastname@example.org.