Top Texas High School Football Rivalries Part I

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Ginger Wilson @gingwilson
August 24, 2016

From the friendly Battle of the Bay featuring La Marque versus Texas City to the all out war in the Panhandle between Amarillo High and Tascosa, some of the best high school football rivalries in the country can be found in the great state of Texas.

El Campo and Bay City lay claim to one of the state’s oldest and longest running rivalries, which began in 1911. From 1911-23. From 1911-23, it wasn’t much of a rivalry as El Campo defeated Bay City the entire stretch. Since it began, El Campo holds a 58 to 40 advantage in wins with seven games ending in a tie. In 2012, the rivalry was in rarely chartered territory as it was the first time in a long time the two teams were not in the same district, but didn’t change how either team felt about one another. In 2014, they once again joined the same district.

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The pair will meet again on November 12th in Bay City. The last time Bay City won was back in 2005 and will look to break the losing streak this year. El Campo is picked to win their district this season while Bay City is picked to finish sixth. However, all rankings go out the window when the state’s oldest rivalry is on the line.

A rivalry made for the Hollywood big screen can be found in West Texas where the Midland Lee Rebels and Odessa Permian Panthers reside. Just 20 miles apart, this rivalry began in 1961 and peaked in the 80’s during the Panthers famous “Friday Night Lights” era. During the peak of this feud, over 20,000 frenzied football fans filled the stands to see which team would bring home the win.

In 1985, the game was moved to a Thursday and televised, proving the passion for high school football in the state. Both in district 2-6A, Permian holds a 35-19-1 advantage over Midland Lee in this series and will face off this year at Ratliff Stadium on Friday, November 4th in the final district game of the season.

Considered one of the state’s most heated rivalries due to pranks and vandalism, the battle between Amarillo High and Amarillo Tascosa is fierce. The first game was held in 1958 with Tascosa taking a 28-12 victory. Close to 15,000 fans fill Dick Bivins Stadium to see who will prevail at the end of what’s known as “Hell Week” in the Texas Panhandle. Over the years, neighborhoods in Amarillo have witnessed their fair share of egging and toilet papering prior to the big game. From a stolen cannon to a plane dropping colored toilet paper over Amarillo High, students don’t hold back in declaring their loyalty to their school.

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The worse defeat came in 2012 when Amarillo resoundingly defeated the Rebels 48-0. This year’s game will be held on September 9th, with Amarillo High holding the 35-15-3 advantage. Both picked second in their respective districts, Tascosa is looking to end Amarillo’s six year win streak.

For over 100 years, East Texas has been the home of the Longview and Marshall rivalry, which began in 1909 and ended scoreless. Since then, the two towns have faced off on the gridiron with Longview holding a 55-42-5 advantage.

In the early years, the rivalry was said to be pretty nasty, but over the years it has morphed into the classic Texas high school football game. Thousands of fans decked out in their team’s colors, hoping to claim bragging rights for one year. Longview holds the longest streak, defeating Marshall from 1969-1987. In 2015, Marshall squeaked by with the 28-25 win for the first time since 1996. One of the best games in the entire series came in 1998 when Marshall won in double overtime. At the time, Longview was ranked #1 in the state.

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This season, Longview travels to Marshall on September 2nd for a non-district showdown which will not disappoint the East Texas faithful. With Longview picked 1st in their district and Marshall picked 2nd, this will likely be a barn burner.

The Crosstown Showdown in Abilene is always one of the best games of the season and this year should be no exception as both Abilene and Abilene Cooper are poised to take first in their respective districts. Since 1961, the two schools have been squaring off on the field to see who reigns supreme in what’s known as “The Friendly Frontier.” Abilene got the best of Cooper in their first meeting back in 1961 in a 35-0 rout. Since then, Cooper has claimed the most wins and hold a 32-21-1 record against their crosstown rivals.

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Cooper went on a 16 game win streak which lasted from 1965-80. Abilene held bragging rights for five years in 2004, 2006-09 and have won the last two meetings 56-37 and 38-7. In a town where kids grow up playing in the same little league baseball, football and basketball leagues, pledging loyalty to their alma mater is easy to do when victory is on the line.

Although the week leading up to the big game is filled with a lot of hype, the rivalry has remained fairly calm over the years. Abilene and Cooper will face off on September 9th to see who will claim the Crosstown Showdown Title of 2016.

Know of a great Texas high school football rivalry? Send information to [email protected] I’d love to hear what makes your team’s rivalry one of the best in Texas!

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