Individually, last year was forgettable for both the Sultana Sultans and the Hesperia Scorpions, who posted 4-6 and 2-8 records, respectively. Ironically, however, the historic Key Game between the cross-town rivals was possibly the most memorable ever. A back-and-forth battle seemingly had the teams in a stalemate, before Hesperia strung together a late game-clinching drive that culminated in a touchdown in the final seconds, lifting the Scorpions to a one-point victory. The win allowed Hesperia to keep the coveted City Key in black and gold for a third straight year and placed them only two games behind Sultana in all-time head to head record. Both teams will look to bounce back from the previous season, but you can be assured that the Key Game remains circled on every player’s calendar. Regardless of record or talent, the September 30th matchup between the Sultans and Scorpions will be the most exciting game of the season.
Easley at Pickens
This heated matchup between South Carolina high school football powerhouses is set to kick off once again as the Easley Green Wave travel to face the Pickens Blue Flame. This rivalry dates back to 1923 and has had plenty of history intertwined into their matchups to fuel each of their future matchups. Following a dramatic 38-37 by Pickens in 2020, Easley took revenge by winning last year’s matchup by a score of 42-14. Will Pickens get back to winning ways in this rivalry in 2022 or will Easley follow up their dominant win last year with another one this year?
Neville at Ruston
One of the biggest football rivalries in the football hotbed of Northwest Louisiana is set to kick off once again this season as the Neville Tigers travel to the Ruston Bearcats. This matchup of titanic rivals has faced off against one another since the opening of Neville in 1931. This game has gone back and forth year after year, shown by Neville’s slight lead in series of 50-42-3. This talent filled matchup comes after Neville’s thrilling victory in 2021 where they pulled off the win by a score of 27-24. Will Ruston make up for last year’s shortcomings or will Neville take revenge on their home turf?
Great Crossing at Scott County
“The Battle of the Birds” resumes this year between Great Crossing and Scott County. The first game was played in 2019. Both schools are in Scott County and play at the Birds Nest Stadium which made its debut in 2019. Scott County is consistently one of the best programs in the state. Last season, the Battle of the Birds came down to the end where Scott County squeaked out a win 14-6 against their rivals. Upstart Great Crossing looks for revenge and the chance to get their first win against their rival this fall.
Toms River North at Toms River South
This annual game, known as the “Civil War”, began in 1972 and is considered to be the biggest event of the year for students at both schools. This rivalry between the Toms River North Mariners and the Toms River South Indians has a rich history, with South winning 20 of the first 21 matchups, and North narrowing the gap after dominating the rivalry for over a decade, with an overall record of 27-23-1 in favor of South. Last year the Mariners took home the victory in convincing fashion, 28-6. This season’s game is shaping up to be a good one, as North looks to build a winning streak against their rivals, and South looks to get back to their winning ways and expand on their series lead.
Rosemount at Lakeville South
In 2005, Lakeville South was opened, and immediately a rivalry was born between them and conference foe – Rosemount. Last season, the Lakeville South Cougars beat the Rosemount Irish for the first time in eight games, winning for the first time since 2011. That game was won thanks to a powerful rushing attack from the Cougars, which they used all season en route to an undefeated record and second straight state championship. This rivalry is fierce, and often comes down to the wire, as neither team holds back on the gridiron. This season’s game is sure to be exhilarating, as Lakeville South looks to create a win streak against the Irish, while Rosemount hopes to take control of the series once again.
Green Bay West at Green Bay East
Being the original, and oldest, high schools in Green Bay, Green Bay East and West were founded in 1856 and 1890, respectively. Before the rivalry started and teams were formed, there was an informal game in 1895 that ended in an 8-8 tie. One year later, in 1896, East organized a football team, followed by West in 1898. The first official meeting between the Green Bay East Red Devils and the Green Bay West Wildcats took place in 1905, and they have played annually since (minus 1906 when the game was cancelled, and 2020 when the game was postponed), making it the longest running consecutively played high school football rivalry in Wisconsin. The series has been tight, with East leading overall 63-50-3. These games have included blowouts, nail bitters, and everything in between with attendance that has sometimes been higher than Packers’ game. Last year’s game was very close, with a final score of 14-13, and all the points coming in the fourth quarter, ending with Green Bay West winning for the first time since 2014. This year is the 117th installment of the game, and should be an entertaining one, as West looks to build a winning streak, and East hopes to get back to their winning ways.
Brownwood at Stephenville
Known as the Battle of 377, these two teams first met in 1937, and this season marks the 81st installment of the rivalry. There is a lot of history within these programs, as they have combined to win 13 state championships. The Brownwood Lions have the lead in the series with a 46-32-2 overall record; however, the Stephenville Yellowjackets have won the past two matchups, including last year’s 63-7 drubbing on their way to an undefeated season that ended with a state championship. This season’s game is sure to be entertaining, as the Lions look to get back in control of the series and the Yellowjackets hope to continue their recent dominance.