The winner of Friday’s high school varsity game between North and South High will get more than a victory. The winner will walk away with a sword.
The festivities for this game got started Wednesday night in what's becoming a staple in the battle for the sword.
In sports, color matters. You can identify with a program, its history, and its players.
For Wednesday’s dinner at South High, even the color of the Gatorade made a statement.
“You want to treat it like any other game but it's hard to,” North High’s head coach Norm Brown said.
In recent years---for one night only---blue and red have blended together.
"Just out here having a good time trying to enjoy ourselves before the game on Friday,” South High senior quarterback Aries Harris said.
South High's late coach Wren started this two team meal five years ago.
Kind of nervous because you're sitting up against the person you're going to end up playing on the field. You never know,” South High junior running back Dorion “Smash” Mitchell.
"I came from LA so I don't know nothing out here,” North High junior defensive back Jeremiah Minifiled said.
It’s a little awkward.
"It's weird. And when they told me I was like 'what? We're eating with our rivalry team?” Minifiled said.
South High grad and Rebels head coach Cary Mills, who's letterman's jacket was used as a display next to the trophy, said this new tradition is part of what makes the rivalry so special.
"For the new guys it's kind of weird and there's always that 'I'm not going to talk to those guys.' But if you go look around, they're high school kids and they're already talking to each other,” South High’s head coach Cary Mills said.
It was hard to find a table that wasn't flowing in conversation, but while it was a friendly dinner, come Friday night ---
"We're enemies basically. It's just football. Put that game face on,” Mills said.