Pierce County enters Week 3 of fall practice now knowing there will be a home opener September 4.

The defending Region 1-AAA champions, who are coming off an 11-1 season under first-year head coach Ryan Herring, will put their school record 20-game regular season winning streak on the line against Class AAAAAA Brunswick High School and former PCHS head coach Sean Pender in the first-ever meeting between the two schools.

It’s the second time in school history the Bears have faced a 6-A opponent, the first coming in 2016 when Richmond Hill (24-17 loss) visited. The rematch in 2017 was cancelled with Hurricane Irma’s passage.

“We have agreed to play,” said Herring of the matchup with Brunswick, “unless the state intervenes. We’re going to be tested pretty quick with our first two opponents (Wayne County at home). That’s why I was upset with the cancellation of the scrimmages.

“There’s no dress rehearsal and we need some live fire to get ready for the season. We’ve just got to get good, quality reps in our practices.”

That’s followed by a matchup at home September 11 against Class AAAAA Wayne County, the first meeting since 2017. Both the Pirates and Yellow Jackets lost in the second round of the state playoffs last year.

The Bears also have a home date October 2 against perennial Class A power Clinch County in the first meeting since 2011. The Panthers have won six state titles since 2002 and are 60-8 over the past five years with three crowns.

Pierce County’s fourth state playoff caliber team on the non-region schedule is Class AA Fitzgerald. The Purple Hurricanes are a favorite to win the state title under head coach Tucker Pruitt, who succeeded former PCHS head coach and current Ware County head coach Jason Strickland.

The Bears are looking to replace homecoming foe Island’s October 16. The Chatham County school system announced last week athletic programs will only play inter-city games in the fall.

Herring said his team wrapped up a good week of practice pitting the No. 1 offense against the No. 1 defense in a 30-minute scrimmage.

“I gave them the weekend off to recoup,” the second-year coach said. “Heading into this week and next week we’ve (coaches) got to be smart and not beat the guys into the ground. We’ve just got to continue moving forward over the next weeks to get ready for September 4.”