The annual season opener for the two teams is dubbed the “Maumee River Rivalry” because the two towns are located approximately 15 miles apart, 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, which began in 1916, 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 the Wildcats’ favor. Napoleon leads the all-time series 51-40-2 after a 21-7 win over Defiance in 2016. The Wildcats have won four of the last five meetings. In recent years, the series has been known for the winner making the playoffs, with the winner qualifying every season from 1999 to 2009. This streak was broken in 2010, when neither team made the playoffs.
Cyzyk is a three-year starter for the Bulldogs’ offensive line. He is an Honor Roll student and is active volunteering in the Defiance community.
Anderson is an offensive lineman for the Wildcats and maintains a 3.93 grade-point average. He plans to attend a four-year university, but his major is undecided.
Ward played inside linebacker and tight end, helping the Bulldogs to three consecutive wins over Napoleon. An All-State Selection at linebacker, Ward led the Bulldogs to a flawless 14-0 record in 1997 on their way to a Western Buckeye League Championship and a Division II State Football title. Ward became a two-time All-Mid American Conference selection at Toledo and was inducted into Defiance’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2004 and was recently selected as one of the top players in Toledo football history.
Huddle is a 2000 graduate of Napoleon and a member of the NHS Athletic Hall of Fame. He played in three River Rock Rivalries in his Wildcat career and helped Napoleon capture a 26-19 win in 1999 with three interceptions from his safety position. He was an All-Ohio selection.