Big Reds & Tigers

THE OHIO Valley is prep football passionate. In two neighboring communities, that passion is at a fevered pitch.

Bellaire and Shadyside are towns that take great pride in the storied accomplishments of their high school football programs. Both the Big Reds and Tigers have made numerous state playoff appearances and each have a pair of state runnerup awards in their respective trophy cases.

Unfortunately, despite being separated by just a couple of miles, the two schools have not met on the gridiron since 1950. That all changes come 12:30 p.m. Saturday at Nelson Field.

The two schools agreed on a two-year deal back in January. The excitement commenced immediately. It has only mushroomed since and now, on the game’s threshold, the Tiger and Big Red partisans are chomping at the bit.

The long-awaited game has been marked by much pageantry. A wing-eating contest, pep rallies and friendly wagers have all highlighted the upcoming game. That is all good.

We hope all the good-spirited hype carries over to the game itself, with sportsmanship playing out in championship fashion on both sides. A game 63 years in the making need not be tainted by poor behavior, be it by participants or fans.

Both teams are primed for successful seasons, each returning several key performers from playoff squads. It shapes up as an evenly matched contest. Unfortunately, one must lose Saturday.

That loss, however, will be overshadowed by the renewal of a special grid series. We commend the administrations at both schools for working together to restart the series. It has been long overdue.

We wish the Tigers and Big Reds the best of luck for a clean, action-packed and injury-free game.