High school football starts in full force tonight with the biggest game of the year, according the principals of Buckeye Valley and Delaware Hayes high schools. This year Buckeye Valley will host the contest starting at 7 p.m. at the Buckeye Valley stadium on 901 Coover Road.
Ric Stranges, principal of Hayes, said, last year when Hayes hosted, “The stands were packed and there was standing room only last year,” he said. “It’s the largest crowd we’ll get all year.”
Jim Albanese, principal for Buckeye Valley, agrees with his counterpart on the magnitude of this game.
“It’s as big as it gets around here,” he said. “The kids all know each other and live near each other.”
Buckeye Valley has the home field advantage and hopes it will be enough for the win. However once the final whistle sounds no matter who wins or loses, every one remains friends.
“The kids walk home hand in hand,” Stranges said. “It’s one of those wonderful neighborhood rivalry’s that are always close.”
Travis Rupp, assistant principal at Buckeye Valley, said 5-years ago Hayes hosted the the game and Buckeye Valley won. As the Hayes players were coming off the field the Buckeye Valley students clapped for them. “I don’t think you can find a better rivalry than between Buckeye Valley and Delaware Hayes,” Rupp said.
Thursday night Buckeye Valley started its pregame festivities with a bonfire and an old car painted with Hayes schools that students could take a couple hits at with a sledge hammer.
D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.