August is finally here and that means one thing (besides triple-digit temperatures) — football season is just around the corner. NFL teams are in training camp, while college and high school teams have begun their summer practices. There’s already been an NFL preseason game on television.
However, something is a little different this year, at least locally. There will be no Walnut Ridge – Hoxie game this year. For the past several years, when the Mustangs and Bobcats met on the football field, not only did it signify the beginning of a new football season, but also the beginning of a new school year. Despite what the thermometers read, summer was pretty much over.
That wasn’t always the case, though. When I was in high school at Walnut Ridge many years ago, the two schools were in the same conference and always played in the final game of the regular season.
Then, for a number of years in the 80s and 90s (I’m not sure of the exact years), the two rivals played each other twice each season, in the first game and then again in the final game. I never cared for that arrangement. I always felt that playing twice a season slightly diminished the “specialness” of the rivalry. One of the things that makes a rivalry game so important is that they are only played once a season. The winners get an entire year to brag, while the losing team has to wait a year for a chance at revenge.
The Hoxie senior Mustangs open the 2008 season on Thursday, Sept. 4, against Heber Springs. The game will be played at Harding University in Searcy.
The Walnut Ridge senior Bobcats open their season on Sept. 5 at Cave City.
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