The Oldest; the Fiercest
THESE DECADE OLD RIVALRIES ARE WELL WORTH
THE PRICE OF ADMISSION
BY JASON BUTT
ONLY ONE RIVALRY CAN POSSESS THE TITLE OF BEING
the oldest in the state of Georgia.
Benedictine and Savannah played for the first time 112
years ago in 1903. These schools are among the 90 high
school rivalries across the entire country that can claim
they’ve had a rivalry lasting over a century.
Knowing the state of the game today, it’s amazing to think
what kind of equipment, if any, was worn for the first-ever
matchup between these two teams that would go on to form
one of the state’s great rivalry games. From 1920 to 1959,
the game was played on Thanksgiving Day, and even when
the game was moved from the annual U.S. holiday, it still was
a main attraction for the Savannah community to attend.
“People had the [Thanksgiving Day] parade downtown
and the [Benedictine] guys would all march in their military
uniforms into the stadium,” former Benedictine coach Mark
Stroud told the Savannah Morning News in 2010. “People
dressed up for the game. Everybody had dates. It was pretty
cool. It really was. Afterward, the winning team would take
Not much is known about this game in the first five years
from 1903-1908. The Georgia High School Historians Asso-
ciation has been able to keep records from 1908 and longer,
preserving most of the games. Benedictine holds a 55-47-8
record against Savannah, with the two teams meeting every
year except for two times from 1918-2003. However, class
realignment ended the every-year matchup until the rivalry
was renewed in 2008. Benedictine defeated Savannah in
each game from 2008-2011 but the two teams have been
unable to compete over the past three seasons.
Though the Blue Jackets haven’t had a winning record
since 1995, the Cadets have since put together a some
great seasons in the years after the last rivalry game took
place. Under coach Danny Britt, Benedictine has gone 8-4 in
2012, 13-1 in 2013 and 13-2 a year ago — which concluded
with a Class AA state championship.
It’s unknown when or if these two teams will play each other
again. But in Savannah, the rivalry will never be forgotten.
THROW OUT THE RECORDS AND THE STATISTICS FOR
this one. No matter how each team has fared during the
season, more than 13,000 people will show up to catch
the annual rivalry game between Warner Robins and
A lot of that has to do with how great the Demons and
Eagles have been throughout each pro-gram’s history. Warner Robins has won four state titles in school history and are
generally among the top competitors in the state. Northside,
however, has recently emerged as one of the elite teams in
Georgia. Northside has reeled off 17 consecutive seasons
with at least 10 wins and have won three state championships in that span — giving the school a total of four.
The rivalry itself dates back to 1964, with Warner Robins
winning the first-ever meeting 25-6. The Demons dominated
the series early, winning 29 of the first 38 games played
against the Eagles.
But as most rivalries go, tides turn and things change.
Over the past 19 years, Northside is 14-5 in the game,
having won eight of the last 10.
In 2009, the year Northside would ultimately advance to
In 2014, Northside needed a defensive stop to thwart
the state championship before losing to Camden County,
Warner Robins found itself trailing 20-0 after three quarters.
The Demons, which didn’t have one of their better teams that
season, were able to capitalize on some Northside mistakes
and found themselves down 20-14 with two minutes left
Dudley threw the ball to running back Jonathan Jackson, who
took the play for a 47-yard touchdown. Warner Robins would
hold on and take a 21-20 up-set victory.
what could have been a Warner Robins upset. But defensive
back Tae Daley came down with a game-saving interception
in the last mi-nute to help beat the Demons 24-21.
This game means a ton to each player on both sides of the
rivalry. And it’s indicative of how close recent games have
been on the field In the past six seasons, five games have
been de-cided by 10 points or less. You can never count out
either side when it’s time for Warner Robins and Northside to
kick off against each other.