For what may be the first time in the school’s history, every opponent on the Bartow High School football schedule is a Polk County school.
In 1999, Bartow played every regular season game in Polk County, but hosted Seffner Armwood, a Hillsborough County school. Bartow also had two out-of-county post-season games. This is believed to be the first time the team will play all of its games, including the pre-season kick-off, against an entire slate of county teams.
The upcoming season sees the Jackets going against many familiar foes, brought about by the new districts announced late last year. Bartow’s district includes George Jenkins, Haines City, Kathleen, Lakeland and Ridge.
The pre-season game is scheduled for Aug. 23 against Frostproof. Due to the size differences between the schools, the teams do not have a history of regular season competition, but the Bulldogs are the exception to the rule for the Yellow Jackets.
The regular season opens with a pair of away games and the opponents were teams that qualified for the 2012 FHSAA playoffs. Bartow travels to Auburndale on Aug. 30 and then moves on to former district rival Lake Gibson. The Jackets’ home opener will come on Sept. 13 against Lake Region before entering district play, keeping the home field advantage. George Jenkins will arrive to start off the highly anticipated drive for the playoffs. Bartow will close September on the road at Fort Meade before getting back into district play at home against Kathleen. The team’s open date is Oct. 11, setting the stage for the visit by Lakeland on Oct. 18 in the last district contest at home. Bartow goes to Haines City and Ridge Community the following two weeks to close out district play. The final game of the year will be a home game against Lake Wales, keeping that tradition in place.
Bartow’s junior varsity team will have four home games on its eight-game schedule. All games are played on Thursday with kickoffs at 7 p.m. The team opens at Haines City on Sept. 5, returning to Bartow the following week to meet Lake Region. They stay home for a game against George Jenkins and close out September at Auburndale. On Oct. 3, Bartow hosts Lakeland’s JV squad and returns to the road to meet Winter Haven. The final home game is Oct. 17 against Ridge with the last game of the year coming on Oct. 24 in Lake Wales.