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Friday, August 30, 2013 - 7:30am

Mercer, Reinhardt Football To Debut

Updated: 1 year ago.
The Mercer University Bears practice in their new home stadium ahead of their team's Saturday debut against Reinhardt University, also a new football program. (Photo: Jane Hammond for GPB News)

Two Georgia universities will field new football programs this Saturday against each other.

With this one game, Mercer University in Macon will begin its first season in 72 years, and Reinhardt University in Waleska will play its first intercollegiate game ever.

Mercer has 12 players from Middle Georgia on the roster. Warner Robins native and team captain Corey Lockett is excited to play the at-home season opener in Macon so close to his hometown.

“It feels good to have my family be able to come in and see me play. It’s a good feeling to know that you’re only 20 minutes from home,” he said.

The game in will be an unlikely homecoming for a Reinhardt player as well. Macon native Johntre Gunn is a starting defensive tackle for the university in north Georgia, but played his high school career at Bibb County’s Westside High, just a few miles from Mercer’s new stadium.

Gunn said he doesn’t have any apprehension about coming back on the opposing team. “I’m ecstatic to be able to play back in my hometown, in front of my home fans, family, friends. It’s going to be a great experience,” he said.

Gunn was cautiously optimistic about Reinhardt’s game day expectations. “We’re just going to come out and pull out all of the coaching that our coaches gave us on the practice field and just bring it over to the game field,” he said.

Lockett of Mercer has high hopes for his untested squad. “Our expectations for the first game is to win. No excuses, nothing like that. Our only expectation is to win,” he said.

Kickoff for the new squads is 6 p.m. Saturday.

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