In a rivalry that dates all the way back to 1984, the Wildcats and Trojans have played each other 22 times with Cleveland High holding a 13-9 series lead. East Side has had the upper hand in recent years by winning the last two meetings.
The fact that both teams are located in Cleveland give the players enough motivation to win the contest. Now, the teams will have even more motivation to win.
On Friday when the game between the two teams concludes at Leroy Byars Field on the campus of East Side High School, the winner will receive a big trophy provided and sponsored by Sears of Cleveland. The trophy will be given annually to the winner of the game.
Darry "Doc" Hardy, owner of Sears of Cleveland, said he got the idea for the trophy from East Side High School principal Randy Grierson.
“Randy Grierson approached me and said would I be interested in sponsoring a trophy to be presented annually to the winner of the Cleveland High School-East Side game ,” Hardy said. “I said sure, we would love to. It’s a rivalry that has been going for years. My oldest son played in the first Cleveland-East Side High School game.”
Hardy said the true essence and spirit of the rivalry is what he truly enjoys.
“We’re sponsoring it for the rivalry and the sportsmanship,” Hardy said. “I know besides Cleveland-Rosedale (West Bolivar) or East Side-Rosedale, it’s the most anticipated game of the season.”
Both Cleveland High and East Side are off to strong starts. East Side is currently a perfect 4-0, while Cleveland High is 3-1. Both schools won tough battles last week on the road as East Side defeated West Bolivar 30-20 in Rosedale, while Cleveland High edged out Hernando High School 22-20 at Hernando.
Both schools have gotten a chance to look at the trophy and see the prize they’ll be battling for.
Cleveland High head football coach Kelly Causey and East Side head football coach Roger Burton said the trophy adds to the excitement of the game.
“It’s an extremely nice trophy,” Causey said this morning. “We saw it yesterday. They brought it over here for us to get a chance to look at it being that this is the first time we’ve ever had it. The kids were really excited about it and really pumped up. I don’t know how you can make the rivalry any bigger, but I think it will. It’s definitely something that I think that’s special and good for the rivalry.”
“It makes it an even more awesome atmosphere,” Burton said. “After what we went through last week and everything else, we’ve got even more to do this week. It makes it more intense and gives the kids something else to play for other than pride.”
Kickoff for Friday’s game at ESHS is set for 7:30 p.m.
Cleveland High -East Side series
1984: CHS 28, ESHS 0
1989: CHS 40, ESHS 0
1990: ESHS 20, CHS 14
1991 CHS 14, ESHS 13
1992: CHS 19, ESHS 7
1993: CHS 20, ESHS 7
1994: ESHS 12, CHS 9
1995: CHS 12, ESHS 9
1996: ESHS 18, CHS 8
1997: ESHS 30, CHS 0
1998: CHS 36, ESHS 9
1999: ESHS 12, CHS 9
2000: CHS 17, ESHS 0
2003: CHS 27. ESHS 7
2004: ESHS 38, CHS 14
2005: CHS 7. ESHS 6
2006: ESHS 26, CHS 21
2007: CHS 23, ESHS 14
2008: CHS 22, ESHS 0
2009: CHS 9, ESHS 6
2010: ESHS 22, CHS 0
2011: ESHS 24, CHS 19
CHS leads series 13-9