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Week 1 High School Football

Football Preview: ‘Border Battle’ at Indy, ‘Battle of 840’ at Page rivalries open season

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Ever since opening in 2011, Summit High School has essentially been considered a younger sibling of Independence High School, which is located less than five miles away as the eagle – or Eagles – fly.

The Eagles of Indy in Thompson’s Station bullied the younger Spartans in the early going on the football field outscoring Summit 188-40 in the first four meetings. However, things have changed in the last four clashes with the Class 5A Spartans trading wins with the Class 6A Eagles since 2016, including a 34-14 win at Summit in 2019.

“It doesn’t take much to get up for this game,” said Spartans coach Brian Coleman, whose team is coming off a championship appearance for the first time in school history. “I mean, they have always been like our big brothers and this game really isn’t supposed to mean anything, but crap, it means a lot and we want to win.”

Independence coach Scott Blade, who is beginning his eighth season at the Williamson County school, admitted the “Border Battle” as it’s been termed is more than just another non conference contest.

“It’s got that meaning; it’s a cross-town game and they have more than turned the corner lately,” he said. “They are coming off a huge year and it’s a challenge for us.”

The game pits a couple of the top returning players in the state in Summit’s Destin and Keaten Wade – twin multi-sport juniors – against do-all Indy senior Jaxon Campbell, another all-state player who will debut as the Eagles new quarterback Friday.

“It’s going to be a fun one,” Coleman said. “None of us have had any scrimmages or anything, so I think we will be a bit rusty out of the gate, but we’re all ready to go.”

Pivoting to the west about 10 miles is another premiere non conference, all-county showdown. Class 3A Fairview will trek to Class 5A Page for the “Battle of 840.”

The Patriots rolled to a 38-6 win in 2019, using a strong ground game to uneven the series over the last 10 meetings.

“It’s a different year and I know they have some key pieces back,” said Page coach Charles Rathbone, who lost 20 starters from last year to graduation. “Neither one of us knows if the other is doing anything different without any preseason work or film, but I know we both want to get the most out of this.”

Rathbone said he’s chatted with Fairview coach Chris Hughes and the two veterans want to make sure both teams can get the most out of the meeting. An example of the trying times is how the Patriots will be honoring their seniors on opening night. Fairview will do the same in Week 2 during their first home game against East Hickman next week.

“We are doing everything we can to make (the players) have those memories that they may not get if this thing continues,” Hughes said, referring to how the COVID-19 pandemic continues to push a high level of uncertainty surrounding fall athletics.

Hughes and the Yellow Jackets have the edge on the ground this season with senior Logan Nardozzi back to carry the running game. He rushed for nearly 1,800 yards last season and was named a Mr. Football semifinalist.

“It will look a whole lot different out there Friday,” Rathbone said. “We all agree, all this extra stuff we have to do to keep these kids safe, it’s all worth it to get them a season.”

The Williamson Herald will have full coverage from both contests Friday night.

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