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.


Dylan Unverferth


Sam Cyzyk


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.
Grayson Anderson


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.


Tom Ward


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.
John Huddle


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.


Napoleon led 13-0 at the half and went on to win for the sixth time in the last 10 years. The Wildcats, who forced five turnovers, improved to 56-39-1 before a capacity crowd in the 96th edition of the rivalry. The Wildcats marched 96 yards on 15 plays (all on ground) with six different carriers on their first drive of the contest. The impressive drive ground 7:34 off the clock as Napoleon took a 7-0 lead on a 2-yard touchdown run by Zach Altman. Napoleon junior Telly Blair intercepted Defiance sophomore QB Caden Kline with 6:09 left in the second quarter. The Wildcats then cashed in with a seven-play drive that covered 60 yards and was capped when Unverferth scored on a nifty 49-yard scamper. Unverferth burst through the middle before making a great cut to juke past the Defiance safety. The point-after attempt was blocked, but Napoleon grabbed a 13-0 lead with 2:15 left in the first half. After a scoreless third quarter, Unverferth found the end-zone once again on a 19-yard touchdown run. Unverferth and the Wildcats converted on the two-point conversion. Defiance got on the board late, as J.D. McNett scored on a three-yard run with 7:09 left in the game. Napoleon won the game 21-7.