Posted: 6:24 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013

Dwyer and Palm Beach Gardens renew rivalry

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By Jeff Greer

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

PALM BEACH GARDENS —

It was time to start scheduling the 2011 football season, and Chris Davis, then coach at Palm Beach Gardens High, thought he had a good team.

Naturally he wanted to play Dwyer, the rival school 4 miles away with a nationally known program.

They never played, and they skipped a 2012 meeting, too.

After a two-year hiatus mainly because of security concerns, the rivalry is back. Gardens hosts Dwyer at 7 tonight and will have extra security on hand to avert any problems.

“Any time you get bigger numbers of people at an event, you need the staffing to match that,” said Bill Weed, the athletic director at Gardens.

Last week, Inlet Grove postponed and moved its home game in Riviera Beach to King’s Academy because of a threat to a student-athlete, although since then several school officials have downplayed the seriousness of the situation.

Two years ago, multiple sources said the Dwyer-Gardens game was dropped from the schedule because of a fear of gang activity at the stadium. At the time, Davis was frustrated, “but safety of kids came first,” he said.

School officials didn’t predict the size of the crowd expected for the renewal of the rivalry, but it is likely to at least match the 2,700 that attended Dwyer’s home game three weeks ago against Miami Central, the No. 1 team in the nation at the time.

The Dwyer-Gardens games drew huge crowds in the 1990s and into the 2000s, when both schools became state powers.

Gardens won a state title in 2005; Dwyer won one in 2009.

“The game was second only to the Muck Bowl,” Weed said, referring to the annual game between Glades Central and Pahokee.

Tonight, the Gardens Police Department will provide extra officers to supplement school police.

“We have a security plan in place for the game, which does include additional school police presence to ensure student safety,” said Jason Shockley, spokesman for the Palm Beach County School District.

Despite the precautions, Weed stressed the “business as usual” attitude he and other administrators at Gardens have taken in the build-up to the game.

“We’ll have most of our usual administrators there, like we do every week,” he said.

The cost of extra security will cut into gate receipts.

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