Over the course of the weekend Rivalry Series staff will visit Ohio, West Virginia, Texas, Georgia, Arizona and Indiana to participate in some of the most storied rivalry games in the country. These six games are part of a 100 game series this season that reaches out to over 40 states from Oregon to Florida and from Minnesota to southern Texas.
“Maumee River Rivalry” – Defiance (OH) vs. Napoleon (OH) – Aug. 27, 2015
This week’s games start on Thursday evening in Defiance, OH as the Defiance Bulldogs and the Napolean Wildcats battle it out for the “River Rock” trophy. The annual season opener for the 2 teams is dubbed the “Maumee River Rivalry” because the 2 towns are located approximately 15 miles apart with both situated on the Maumee River. The schools have played for the “River Rock”, an actual rock found on the river bed between the cities of Defiance and Napoleon since 2009. The early part of the series was dominated by Defiance, who won 15 of the first 18 meetings. However, a 15-game winning streak by Napoleon from 1965 to 1980 changed the series into their favor. In recent years, the series has been known for the winner making the playoffs, with the winner qualifying every season from 1999 to 2009 (but never the loser in these years). This streak was broken in 2010, when neither team made the playoffs, and again in 2011 when Defiance won but Napoleon made it. In 2012, Napoleon won and made the playoffs again. The series has been played every year since 1932, with the exception of 1973 when Defiance joined a new league which took up their entire schedule (then 9 games).
“Battle of the Bluefields” – Bluefield (WV) vs. Graham (VA) – Aug. 28, 2015
LIVE INTERNET BROADCAST BEGINNING AT 7 PM EST
The Great American Rivalry Series will be airing its first LIVE Internet Broadcast of the season on Friday as the Bluefield Beavers and the Graham G-Men meet in Mitchell Stadium for their annual cross-border rivalry. This game is considered the area’s largest sporting event as the two teams vie to be victorious in the historic Battle of the Bluefields. This legendary rivalry began in 1911, but the second meeting did not take place until 1928. Since then, the game has been played annually. Many residents recall the more memorable games like the 1948 matchup which ended in a tie. Bluefield leads the series 62-23-2, though the records are much closer in recent years.
East Texas Showdown – Longview (TX) vs. Lufkin (TX) – Aug. 28, 2015
Football in Texas is big everywhere, but not many rivalry games in Texas are as big as the game between the Longview Lobos and the Lufkin Panthers. These two teams have met 76 times since 1932. It has been a heated battle nearly every year and couldn’t be any closer as the record sits at 36-36-4, including meetings in the playoffs. The first game took place in 1932 with a Lufkin victory of 34-0. From that time on they have fought back and forth each year, with the exception of the 1957 game, which was canceled due to extreme weather. The see-saw battle between the two continued into 2014 as Lufkin took the season opener only to be defeated by Longview 43-42 in the playoffs, an indication of how close these two match up.
“Heritage Bowl” – W.H. Spencer (GA) vs. G.W. Carver (GA) – Aug. 28, 2015
The Heritage Bowl rivalry between the Carver Tigers and the Spencer Greenwave began in 1962 and has become a tradition in Columbus, GA as many notable alumni return home to cheer for their respective schools. After joint activities during the week, including the Heritage Bowl parade, the Tigers and the Greenwave get ready to square off for their annual gridiron battle. Carver, which won the state title in 2007, leads the series 39-12-1 and has bested Spencer for 15 straight years. Over the years, the Heritage Bowl has seen a number of great athletes play for both teams. Many of these have gone on to play in college and the NFL, including Jarvis Jones (Steelers), Isiah Crowell (Browns), and Tori Mobley (Panthers) from Carver and Gary Downs (Falcons), Moe Williams (Vikings) and Randy Fuller (Broncos) from Spencer.
“Battle for the Copper Pick” – Bisbee (AZ) vs. Douglas (AZ) – Aug. 28, 2015
Two long-standing football programs open their season in the historic Warren Ballpark in Bisbee, AZ to vie for the Copper Pick Trophy. The Bisbee Pumas and the Douglas Bulldogs will be playing on one of the oldest professional baseball fields in the country. Like Warren Field, this is also one of the oldest rivalry games in the country. The Pumas and Bulldogs have met 144 times since 1906 and both are hoping they will be the team to etch their name on the historic Copper Pick in 2015. This unusual trophy is an 1 inch replica of a miner’s pick and was formed from copper which is mined in Bisbee and smelted in Douglas. The use of the pick began in 1944 when Douglas principal Charles R. Johnson recommended some sort of symbol of sportsmanship between the two teams. Bisbee placed the pick in their trophy case after a 21-6 victory in 1944, which was highlighted by a 74 yard scoring run by halfback Bill Penn. Overall, Douglas leads 77-59-8, but Bisbee has brought home the pick the past two years.
Indiana Showdown – Columbus North (IN) vs. Columbus East (IN) – Aug. 28, 2015
The rivalry between the Columbus East Olympians and the Columbus North Bull Dogs began in 1972 when a second school in Columbus, IN became necessary. Since that time, the Olympians and the Bull Dogs have fought bitterly over the years, with East leading the series 22-21. Columbus East has held the best record in Indiana for the last 10 years. They took home a State Title in 2009 and won again in 2013. The Olympians ended the season 13-1 in 2014. But the Bull Dogs will be hungry for an early season victory and can’t be counted out in this heated rivalry.