Lakeland High School was established in 1927 while Kathleen High School was established in 1928, making these two high schools the oldest public schools in Polk county. This crosstown rivalry has produced some intense rivalry games in the past, but most recently Kathleen has owned this matchup beating Lakeland four of the last five meetings.


A.J. Thomas


Robert Madden


Robert is a three-year letterman and captain on the varsity football and lacrosse team. Robert led the team in tackle in 2016 and earned honorable mention on the all-county defensive team. He is a member of the National Honor Society, student council and is class president. Robert currently holds a 4.2 GPA and plans to attend college after graduation.
Darius Willis


Darius is a two-year letterman on the varsity football team. He is a member of the National Honor Society and last season was 1 of 33 players that had a 3.0 GPA or higher the entire school year. Darius loves to workout, spend time with his family, and hang with his friends. He wants to attend college and major in physical therapy and have his own physical therapy business.


Joe Dicesare


Joe was a three-year letterman for Lakeland varsity football and basketball teams. As team captain in 1979, Joe led Lakeland High School to its first district championship and led the team in interceptions that year with 11 which is still a school record. Joe earned a scholarship to play football at Troy University where he graduated with a degree in business marketing. Joe has contributed much time, talent and treasures towards the Dreadnaught Football Century Club. Now residing in Lakeland, Joe and Susan have been married 28 years and have two children Thomas and Julia.
Ernest Joe


“Coach Joe” played in the rivalry game for three years as a starter at offensive line and went on to play football at Albany State University. Since graduating from high school and college, Ernest has impacted the Kathleen High School community greatly. He returned as the Head Football Coach and later as the Principal of Kathleen High School. Currently Ernest is the Director of Diversity for the Polk County School District, as well as the acting principal of Kathleen High School. He is a well-loved member of the Kathleen Community whose impact in the lives of our children will be long lasting.


No. 3 Lakeland got just enough offense in a defensive struggle to defeat Kathleen 10-3 on Friday night at Bryant Stadium to clinch the Class 7A, District 6 title. The victory gave Lakeland (8-0, 3-0) its 15th undefeated season under head coach Bill Castle and its 26th district title. Running back AJ Thomas was awarded the Great American Rivalry MVP award after scoring the game’s only touchdown.