For the first time since 1950, Bellaire and Shadyside are going to meet on the football field.
The athletic directors for the two schools - Molly Feller of Bellaire and John Triveri of Shadyside - formally inked the contracts for a two-year, home-and-home in football, starting in 2013 on Thursday afternoon.
"I think this should be a pretty good matchup between the two teams," said Bellaire head coach Jose Davis. "Obviously, the communities are so close that a lot of people have been wanting to see this game played for a long time."
Shadyside head coach Mark Holenka, who is embarking on his fifth season at the helm of his alma mater, is happy to have the schedule completed in early January for the first time in several seasons.
"I've not really had time to digest the idea of playing Bellaire yet, but I know it will certainly be a challenge for us," Holenka said. "Bellaire has gotten going again and has things really going in a positive direction. It'll be a challenge when you consider everything we lost (to graduation), but it's going to be fun. The student body wants it and I think a lot of the population wants it."
The first meeting between the two, which will occur in Week 3 of the season, will be held at Nelson Field in Bellaire on Sept. 14 with kickoff slated for 12:30 p.m. The second meeting will be at Fleming Field on Sept. 12 with kickoff set for 7 p.m.
"It didn't take much convincing on my part to play this game," Davis said. "Obviously, there were some things we had to sit down and go over, but when you look at the big picture in terms of the gate, possible playoff points, it's a beneficial for both sides."
A year ago at this time, Bellaire had filled its schedule for the 2013 season. The Big Reds had inked a multi-year deal with Bridgeport.
However, the Bulldogs and Big Reds agreed that if both could come up with another game for that date, they'd call of their inteded series. Bridgeport has signed a four-year deal with Caldwell for the Week 3 slot.
"Once Caldwell had an opening, it really got everyone's wheels turning," Davis said. "I think Bridgeport felt more comfortable with a game with Caldwell. Actually, it works out pretty well for all of the schools involved."
Shadyside, which has had trouble filling its schedule for several seasons, is coming off a 10-1 campaign. The Tigers earlier signed Meadowbrook and Union Local to their schedule for next season and will continue to play the likes of Monroe Central, Beallsville, Barnesville, Wheeling Central and Bridgeport.
"It's definitely different to have the schedule completed this early," Holenka said. "You can finalize them early as long as you're willing to play up. As a Division VII school, we can always play up. You pick up the likes of Bellaire, Union Local and Meadowbrook, you can finalize it quicker."
The Big Reds and Tigers first met on the gridiron in 1909 with Bellaire prevailing, 6-5.
The series, however, didn't get started again until 1922 and that resulted in a scoreless tie. Bellaire won, 19-12, in 1923 and the teams didn't meet in 1924.
The series started again in 1925 and the teams met yearly through 1950 and haven't met since.
All told, the Big Reds lead the series 24-2-3.
Shadyside earned its only two wins in the series in 1934 (7-2) and 1943 (12-6).