Thursday, October 7, 2010

Backyard Brawl: Washington School, St. Joe face off for first time ever

GREENVILLE — It's been 40 years in the making.
Despite the obvious bad blood between St. Joseph and Washington School, they both are straying away from providing any “bulletin board material.” But they’re quick to point out that Friday night’s matchup is no ordinary game.
“This is for every Washington School player who has ever put on a jersey,” said Washington School coach Phillip Wasson.
Washington School, who competes against private schools in the MAIS, has never faced off against St. Joseph, a private school that has always competed against public institutions in the MHSAA, in their 40-year history.
It’s been the talk of the town since the highly anticipated matchup was announced this summer.
“We’ve been wanting to (play against Washington School) forever,” said St. Joe quarterback Jacob Reifers.
And the now the St. Joe Fighting Irish will get their chance Friday night at 7 p.m. on their home field. Tailgating is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m.
Currently, the Generals (4-3) are riding a four-game winning streak, while averaging nearly 43 points a game.
Meanwhile, the Fighting Irish (1-6) got their first victory last Friday after defeating Drew 28-22.
And to add a spice to the plot, Wasson and St. Joe head coach John Baker formerly worked together as assistant coaches at Greenville Christian.
“It’ll renew some rivalries, in a sense," said Baker. “He used to coach the offense and I coached the defense. It's going be fun.”
Wasson said he’s expecting a large crowd of current students and alumni from both schools to attend Friday night’s game. And for those who can’t watch it, it'll be broadcasted live on for a fee. It’ll be available for free on the website beginning Saturday.
With the two schools located less than three miles away from each other, the players are quite familiar with each other.
“I have a lot of friends (at Washington School) and would love to play football against them. I’ve never done it before,” said Reifers, who accounted for four touchdowns last week against Drew. “It’s going to be an experience, a big experience.”
Said St. Joe running back/linebacker Chris Taylor, “We've been anticipating this game all summer.”
A win won't improve either team's playoff shot, but it will provide a year’s worth of bragging rights.
“Whoever wins gets that whole year to talk about,” said Wasson.

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