Milton and Pace are a unique rivalry when it comes to sports.

The two schools are roughly seven miles apart and for some former Panthers, their children have attended and graduated from Pace.

Despite the family connections between the two schools, the rivalry is very important, especially since both teams are vying for a District 1-6A playoff spot.

For the Patriots they are working on winning their 10th meeting in a row and 13th out of 31 meetings since the rivalry began in 1981.

For Pace Athletic Director Robert Freeman, the game has a great deal of significance, as he wanted his young group of Patriots to get better.

"When I became the head football coach at Pace High getting a game against Milton was a top priority," Freeman said. "I called coach
(Hurley) Manning and we got it worked out as we tried to adjust schedules and other matters.

"The biggest thing for us was for us to get better we had to play better competition and Milton was the program to beat back then."

Despite the series beginning in 1981 and taking a short break from 1983 to 1985, Pace did not notch its first win until 1988 when they won
the game 14-0.

Milton would go on to win the next four before the Patriots would record a win in 1993 and then again in 1999.

Since 2004, the Bronze Helmet has stayed at Pace High School.

"This makes me sad," said Press Gazette Facebook follower Taylor Hanks. "I miss cheering on Friday night against Milton. Those games were always the best and the Pace-Milton week was always fun."

While the game can be fun, there is some heated moments with any rivalry and both sides have pointed fingers at the others fans.

"The truth is that there are some people on both sides who are disrespectful," said Facebook follower Charissa Cotten. "Overall most of the fans are friendly and have fun with the competition. After all we are neighbors in the community and friends overall.

"It really bothers me when we don't support each other. Unless we are playing each other we should want our community teams to win."

The key to Friday's game is the winner will be in strong contention for a postseason berth, something Milton has not enjoyed since they lost to Pace in the 4A Regional Semi-Finals 27-3 back in 2007.

While the Panthers have experienced a post-season drought, many feel Milton is on its way back.

"It is a rivalry regardless," said Cheryl Graham. "Milton is headed in the right direction.

"A team is only as good as its coaching staff and that has improved lately."

Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at Milton High School and tickets can be purchased ahead of game time at the respective schools athletic offices.

Another event going on with the game is the "Panthers Go Pink" fundraiser for breast cancer awareness.

Both concession stands at Milton High School will be selling these cups with a portion of the proceeds being donated to the American Cancer Society.

The cups will cost $3 with a .50-cent refill. The school will present a check to the American Cancer Society at halftime of its game on Nov. 2 against Pine Forest.

History of Milton - Pace Rivalry
1981 Milton 24-7
1982 Milton 10-0
1985 Milton 28-0
1986 Milton 28-13
1987 Milton 28-0
1988 Pace 14-0
1989 Milton 31-0
1990 Milton 29-7
1991 Milton 43-15
1992 Milton 35-7
1993 Pace 20-18
1994 Milton 9-7
1995 Milton 7-0
1996 Milton 38-8
1997 Milton 21-7
1998 Milton 30-17
1999 Pace 21-14
2000 Milton 30-27
2001 Milton 7-3
2001 Milton 30-19*
2002 Milton 40-32
2003 Milton 34-6
2004 Pace 17-10
2005 Pace 16-0
2006 Pace 21-14
2007 Pace 17-10
2007 Pace 27-3**
2008 Pace 28-6
2009 Pace 17-7
2010 Pace 35-14
2011 Pace 49-35

* - 3A Regional Final
** - 4A Regional Semi-Final