With the start of a new football season comes the return of the much-anticipated Great American Rivalry Series. Entering its 9th season, the Series showcases the top high school football rivalries across the nation. It revolves around every player, coach and fan. For many of the seniors, this rivalry contest will be the culmination of their athletic careers and the climax of their “Glory Days”. The Rivalry Series captures that moment and helps enhance an experience that the players, coaches and fans will never forget.
The winning team is awarded the Great American Rivalry Series Championship Trophy with one player selected as the game’s “Most Valuable Player”. Both the schools and the game are recognized on the iHigh.com and GreatAmericanRivalry.com national websites. Fans from across the country and overseas can tune into the games live over the Internet via the iHigh.com Broadcast Network (iBN). Along with earning the coveted title of “Great American Rivalry Champion”, the winning team earns bragging rights for their school for another year.
The 2011 Great American Rivalry Series was a huge success, highlighting 49 long-standing rivalry games in 17 states. The Series featured 10 teams that ended the year ranked in the top 100 nationally, according to Rivals.com, including the Louisville Trinity Shamrocks who finished #1 overall. Among the games included were the Vestavia Hills vs. Hoover game in Alabama, St. X vs. Trinity in Kentucky, Valdosta vs. Lowndes in Georgia, Good Counsel vs. St. John’s in Maryland and Manatee vs. Southeast in Florida. An impressive 8 teams went on to win their class state championship while 107 players went on to play at Division 1 universities.
Since 2004, the Series has spotlighted 238 games in 38 states with more to come in 2012. The 2012 Series kicks off on August 24th and will continue through November with 67 must-see matchups across 27 states. 14 teams participating start off the year ranked in the Rivals.com top 100, including 4 in the top 10, which is sure to make this year’s series the best of all. Some of the key matchups this year are #9 Good Counsel vs. Dematha in Maryland, Maryville vs. Alcoa in Tennessee, #10 Trinity takes on St. Xavier in Kentucky, #7 Byrnes vs. Gaffney in South Carolina and #3 Manatee vs. Southeast in Florida.
This year’s Series will have no shortage of talent. Among the players involved, 7 fall into the top-100 according to Rivals.com, including the #6 player overall, Kendall Fuller at Good Counsel in Maryland. The Series will include 4 of the top-30 Quarterbacks, 2 top-20 Running backs and 4 of the top-100 Wide Receivers on the offensive side of the ball. Meanwhile, there will be a plethora of talent on the defensive side of the ball. Four of the top-40 Defensive Tackles, 9 top-50 Defensive Backs, 3 top-40 Safeties and 2 top-10 Linebackers are all included this year.
Good Counsel (#9 Preseason) leads the way with 4 players ranked within the top-60 of their position. They look to defend their WCAC State Championship and will have plenty of help on the defensive side of the ball. Kendall Fuller is the #1 Defensive Back in the country and has currently signed to play at Virginia Tech. He is joined by the #4 Outside Linebacker Dorian O’Daniel and the #27 Defensive Back Kirk Garner who are signed with Clemson and Virginia respectively. Good Counsel will host Dematha in this year’s Series.
Florida’s Lincoln High School (#51 Preseason) comes in 2nd with 3 players who are ranked in the top-30 of their position. They are led by the Wide Receiver duo of Reggie Davies (#17 WR) and Taj Williams (#26 WR). Davis has currently signed to play with the University of Georgia. They also have the #7 Inside Linebacker in James Hearns who is set to play his college ball at the University of Florida. They will visit rival Godby in this year’s Series. Godby features the #25 Athlete, Khalid Thomas, who is signed to play at the University of Kentucky.
The lines are drawn, the schedule is set and the rivalries are poised to be as heated as ever this coming season. This leaves us with only 1 question that needs to be answered…What’s your favorite rivalry?