Get ready, football fans, because the stage is set for an electrifying clash that’s been 118 games in the making! On October 21st, 2023, the historic Big Reds Stadium will play host to a battle that transcends time – the age-old rivalry between the Bellaire Big Reds and the Martins Ferry Purple Riders. This clash of titans marks the 20th season of the Great American Rivalry Series, and it promises to deliver gridiron drama like no other.

Since 1905, these two Northern Ohio powerhouses have been locking horns in an intense display of skill, passion, and rivalry. With a mere three-game difference over 119 meetings, the all-time series stands at 57-54-7, showcasing just how evenly matched these teams have been. This contest isn’t just about football; it’s about history, pride, and tradition.

“Few rivalries in the nation can boast the legacy and intensity of Bellaire vs. Martins Ferry,” says Rick Ford, founder and CEO of the Great American Rivalry Series. “This clash embodies the heart and soul of high school football, reminding us all of the rich heritage this sport brings to our communities.”

The excitement doesn’t stop there. With a crowd size of 7,500 expected to pack the stands, the energy will be palpable. The Bellaire faithful will be roaring for their Big Reds, while the Martins Ferry supporters rally behind their Purple Riders.

A notable piece of hardware is on the line as well – SPARKY. This coveted trophy has been in the spotlight since 2017, showcased by Bellaire following their commanding 39-8 victory over Martins Ferry in the 2022 season. The rivalry’s prestige is further cemented by its standing as the 82nd oldest in the nation and the 4th oldest in Ohio.

As we approach kickoff, the anticipation is electric. Old grudges, new talent, and the weight of tradition converge for an unforgettable battle that will keep fans on the edge of their seats. From the very first snap to the final whistle, emotions will run high and passions will burn brighter than ever.

So mark your calendars for October 21st, 2023, as the Bellaire Big Reds and the Martins Ferry Purple Riders clash under the Friday night lights. Get ready for a spectacle that transcends generations and embodies the very essence of football. We know Friday nights, and this one promises to be legendary.

We know Friday Nights.


Drew White


Logan Edgar


Logan Edgar is a senior at Bellaire High School. HIs activities throughout high school have included: football, basketball, sophomore class treasurer, junior class president, foreign language club, drug free club, junior camp counselor, national honors society, and prom committee. Logan has been on the Principal's list, student of the month, OVAC All-Academic team, all OVAC special mention and honorable mention, Buckeye 8 honorable mention, and 2022 all times leader football team. He enjoys fishing, golfing, and hanging out with friends and family in his spare time. Logan is a member of St. John's Catholic Church in Bellaire and plans to attend college pursuing an Aerospace Engineering Degree.
Baron Lucey

Martins Ferry

Baron is a four-year starter on the varsity football team, four-year starter on the baseball team, one-year member National Honor Society, four year member of the staying clean club. In football, Baron was third-team all-Ohio as a junior and first team all-Eastern District and Buckeye 8. In baseball, Baron was selected first team Buckeye 8, OVAC, Times Leader and Easter District.


Today brought an intense battle in Bellaire, OH between the Bellaire Big Reds and the Martin’s Ferry Purple Riders. The first half of the game, the Bellaire defense and offense were both strong. With Bellaire’s #3 Drew White scoring two major touchdowns in the first quarter. Bellaire continued to run the board all the way to the half, with #3 Mac Pettigrew scoring a 59 yd touchdown bringing Bellaire up to 34-0 entering halftime. Martin’s Ferry started the 2nd half ready to fight back. Bellaire fumbled the ball, received by Martin’s Ferry they made a 1st down on the 13 yd line. Martin’s Ferry #5 Ayden Ludloph put them on the board with 5:01 to go in the 3rd. With Martin’s defense picking up a bit they were able to push through with one more touchdown, bringing the final score to 41-14. It was a great day for football in Ohio, see you next year!