Vote for Mater Dei and Reitz in USA Today’s Best Football Rivalry Poll
The winners of the nationwide poll will split a $5,000 cash prize!
Pick a sport, and I promise you’ll find a great rivalry. In the NBA it’s the Lakers and Celtics, the NFL has Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, there’s Indiana and Kentucky, Indiana and Purdue, Kentucky and Louisville, and countless others in the world of college sports. The point being, rivalries are what make sports great, and we have a great one right here in Evansville that has a shot at getting the national recognition it deserves.
An argument could be made, and made convincingly, that I may be a bit biased when it comes to the rivalry between the Mater Dei Wildcats and the Reitz Panthers due to the fact that I went to, and graduated from, Mater Dei back in 1995. Both my mom and her brother are Mater Dei grads, as are my brother and sister. It’s in my blood, I can’t help it. Come to think about it, no argument needs to be made, I’ll proudly tell anyone who will listen that I’m biased when it comes to this rivalry.
There are so many angles to this rivalry outside of the fact that these are the only two high schools on the west side of Evansville. This is a public school versus private school rivalry, which to some (I believe unfairly) equates to a battle of the haves versus the have-nots. Although I can tell you from experience, just because someone goes to Mater Dei doesn’t mean their family is making money hand over fist.
The rivalry between the two begins at birth. If you live on the west side, you more than likely come from a family that went to one of the two schools, and you, by default, will also go to that school. You will also by default not like the other school.
While the rivalry takes place between all the sports each school plays, it’s at its peak during football season. If you’re looking for someone on the west side during the final game of the regular season, chances are you’ll find them at the Reitz Bowl. There are easily 10,000-plus people there on that Friday night, many of which find themselves standing around the top edge of the stadium because there’s no where to sit by about 6:15 (the game kicks off at 7:00). The game might as well be the Super Bowl for both teams and their fans. Even if both teams came into the game with zero wins, the winner of the game would be considered as having a successful season by their fans. Sure, the players and coaches will tell you its one game at a time. That’s what they’re supposed to say, but deep down, whether they’ll admit it or not, that final game of the regular season is circled on the calendar in the back of their minds.
Now we have a chance to show the whole country how big of a rivalry this is by casting our vote in the USA Today online poll. Even if you don’t have a dog in this fight, do us all a solid by hitting up the red button below to cast your vote, and let’s show the nation that Evansville, Indiana loves our football just as much as everyone else.