Jasper and Southridge: End of a rivalryAugust 29, 2019
By TRAVIS DAVID
JASPER — Over the course of the last 47 years, the Jasper vs. Southridge rivalry on the gridiron has seen just about everything.
Mostly it has seen the Wildcats racking up win after win — 40 of them to be exact.
And after the clock on the scoreboard reaches triple zeros Friday night, nothing else will be seen.
At least not in the foreseeable future, except the winner will get to display the goal-post trophy.
With the Wildcats joining the Southern Indiana Athletic Conference next season, there will be no more room on the schedule for the two teams to meet up.
So will Friday night’s final game be the biggest game in the history of the storied rival?
But according to one Jasper player it may just be the most memorable one.
“I can see it going down as the most memorable game out of all them,” Wildcat senior offensive lineman Gavin Hopf said before practice Wednesday afternoon. “It’s probably going to be the last time Jasper gets to play Southridge, so it’s going to be a game to remember forever.”
Hopf also mentioned going out with a second straight win would be a good feeling for a couple of different reasons.
“After last week (loss to Evansville Memorial) we do not want to start 0-2,” the senior said. “But this is also a game for a lot of bragging rights. You want to be able to show what you have against people you may see in everyday life.”
The two schools are separated by just 10 miles, which is a big reason why the game has become such a main attraction, despite a one-sided affair for the most part.
“It’s really just a great community game,” Southridge coach Scott Buening stated. “And quite honestly, Jasper has had the upper hand the majority of the series, but with the communities being so close, it really just creates such a fun and playoff-like atmosphere.”
Wildcat senior defensive lineman Sam Kluemper made his first start in the series in last season’s 35-7 romp.
He mentioned he just wants his team to play well.
“We know it means a lot to Southridge, so it makes it mean more to us,” he said. “Really every game is important and we just want to come out and play more physical and do our best after last Friday.
“We want to get back on our feet.”
The series started back on Sept. 1 of 1972 with Jasper coming away with a 35-0 win.
It’s been played every year since.
There’s been 16 shutouts — 15 coming in Jasper wins including three straight from 1986-’88.
Southridge has won in back-to-back years just once, in ‘98-’99, while the Wildcats owned a 14-game winning streak starting in ‘84.
Jasper owns the largest margin of victory with a 48-0 shutout in ‘94 and has also scored the most points in a game — 49 in a 49-6 romp two years later.
In its seven wins, Southridge has only outscored the Wildcats by a combined 34 points, with a 20-13 win on Aug. 27 1999 being the largest spread of victory.
No matter what the outcome, Buening pointed out it’s still a great game to be a part of, for various reasons.
“We have had a lot of stinkers over the years, but there’s also been some really good games,” the Raiders coach stated.
Friday night will be Buening’s seventh game in the series.
It will be the first for new Wildcats’ coach Tony Lewis.
“I don’t know a whole lot about the rivalry other than just what everyone tells me,” Lewis admitted. “But I know from the sounds of things, this is the type of game you want to coach in, play in and be a fan of.”
One of the best games in the series came in ‘82 when Jasper won 27-24 in overtime.
After the Raiders booted a field goal for a 3-point lead, the Wildcats scored the game-winner when Zach Bawel and Andy Fritch teamed up for an 8-yard touchdown pass on third-and-goal.
Another memorable game came in the Raiders' 14-13 win in ‘98.
After catching a 7-yard touchdown pass with 1:09 left in the game, Kurt Kuczynski then ran in a two-point conversion for the final tally.
After the game, Raiders coach Brad Hanner stated the win was “the greatest of my coaching career.”
Odds of Buening making the same statement, should the Raiders notch their eight and final victory of the stories series on Friday, will be slim.
“We are not blind to the circumstances surrounding the game, but really we are just focused on trying to improve from last week,” the Raiders coach stated. “This game is always a good measuring stick for us.
“Maybe after all is said and done and we look back on this we will view it a little different than most. And this game will definitely be one we will miss. But we are excited about doing it one more time.”
Kickoff Friday is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Jerry Brewer Alumni Stadium.
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