This fall's Erk Russell Classic will be a special one, as Erk Russell will be in attendance.
As in two year old Erk, the great-grandson of the legendary Georgia Southern head coach.That Erk belongs to Bremen head football coach Davis "Rooster" Russell.
"I showed [my son] the Erk Russell bust on FaceTime, and he was scared of it," Russell laughed. "Hopefully, he'll grow out of that by the time we get here in August."
Russell will walk in his grandfather's footsteps this fall when he coaches his Blue Devils on the field at Paulson Stadium against Rabun County.
"He created something special here," Russell said at Saturday's Erk Russell Classic press conference. "They glorify his legacy, and that's special to my family and we appreciate that so much."
The game isn't for another five months, but the anticipation is already here for Russell. The second year head coach says he isn't sure what will happen when he headbutts the bust of his grandfather that now watches over the field at Paulson Stadium.
"I just hope I can compose myself so I can coach. That's going to be an emotional moment," he said. "He'd probably tell me, 'Roost, go get after 'em.' That's probably what I'll be thinking."
Bremen and Rabun County is just one of three games that will happen at the 7th Erk Russell Classic. Pinewood will face rival Bulloch Academy, while Benedictine will square off with Burke County.
All of the teams in this year's field have former Eagles on the coaching staff, including Benedictine head coach Danny Britt and Rabun Co. offensive coordinator Jaybo Shaw.
"I think it's exciting. We're going to embrace it," Shaw said. "To get to coach in a place that means the world to me, and saved the love of football I had, this place will always be very special to me."
But no connection is greater than blood, and Rooster will be a fan favorite when he brings his Blue Devils to the stadium his grandfather put on the map. Russell says he hopes to celebrate a win in August the same way Erk celebrated so many Eagle victories.
"That'd be a very sweet victory cigar, and very special," he smiles.
The 7th Erk Russell Classic kicks off the 2018 season on August 18 in Statesboro.