Mineral Wells Area News

Gordon, Strawn rivalry a century in the making

Gordon, Strawn rivalry a century in the making
September 06
06:06 2023
Century old football rivalry will battle it out on the gridiron this weekend


Special to Mineral Wells Area News

One hundred years ago, Gordon and Strawn faced each other on the gridiron for the first time. A century later, this game has developed into one of the top football rivalries in Texas.

The first meeting between these two traditional six-man powerhouses, located just eight miles apart, took place in 1923. The game always draws the attention of not only football fans in both communities and Palo Pinto County, but of football fans across the high school football spectrum.

This year’s affair won’t be under the Friday night lights of high school football, but rather under Saturday night lights. The tilt is set to kick off at 7 p.m. inside Gordon Longhorns Stadium. The game was moved from Friday to Saturday because of a shortage of available officials.

It is often a game of historic proportions. The two teams met in a playoff game in 2008 in Mineral Wells’ then-new Ram Stadium. That game still holds the stadium’s all-time attendance record. Strawn won, and went on to win the school’s second state championship.

Gordon, which plays in Class 1A-Division I, is ranked number one in statewide sixman football polls and easily defeated Strawn last year. Before that, it was Strawn, which won its fifth state title in Class IA-Division II in 2021 – its third championship in five years. That is how the series has gone the last 100 years.

Gordon Head Coach Mike Reed played on Gordon’s last state championship team in 1999. He knows what this game means to the two communities. Gordon has big aspirations this season and Reed said Strawn is to be taken seriously.

“I think when expectations are high you don’t take any opponent lightly,” said Reed. “You know they are going to exploit you.”

The ‘Horns trail boss, who also once coached in Strawn, said players on both teams are very familiar with each other. He said they likely are more concerned about playing and winning than the game being a milestone matchup. The fans might feel a little different.

“Both towns have a high level of excitement for football,” said Reed.

Gordon (2-0) came into the 2023 season loaded in both sides of the ball, returning five starters on offense, all six on defense and nine lettermen overall from a team that went three rounds deep in the playoffs in 2022. 

The ‘Horns are off to a great start on the young season, winning its opener, 48-0, over Throckmorton and defeating Garden City, 58-12, this past Saturday. They are starting 2023 much like 2022, a season in which they mercy-ruled all 10 of their regular-season opponents.

The slightly younger Greyhounds (1-1) are still in a reloading mode and striving to improve week by week. Having missed the playoffs last season, Strawn opened this season with a 100-55 loss to Crowell, but bounced back Friday at home to take an 85-40 win over Dallas Lutheran.

Strawn Head Coach Dwaine Lee said his team is “excited” to play Gordon this week.

“I think that (playing Gordon) is going to make us better because when you play good people it makes you better,” Lee said. “They can do some things. They are going to pass the ball. So we need to work on that.”

Lee said the fact this week’s game marks the 100th anniversary of the first Gordon-Strawn meeting doesn’t add a lot of significance to what is already a storied rivalry anticipated by fans and players on both sides.

“They are D-1 (Division I) and we’re D-II,” he said. “It’s a fun rivalry and you have bragging rights. At this point we have to just worry about ourselves. We are just trying to get better.”


CCS Warriors

Community Christian School collected its first win of the season, 58-13, over Thesa JV. The Warriors (1-1) ended their second road game in the third-quarter via sixman football’s 45-point mercy rule.

Quarterback Price Horton was 7-of-11 passing for 187 yards and two touchdowns. Running back Hayden Yelverton had four carries for 133 yards (33.3 ypc) and four trips into the end zone. 

CCS plays one more road contest this Thursday against Grace Christian Academy before its first “home” game of the year Sept. 15. However, it won’t really be a home game as CCS will play this season’s “home” games on Weatherford Christian School’s field. The Warriors’ home field is not playable this season because of this summer’s excessive heat and drought.

Santo Wildcats

Santo fell to 1-1 on the road at Goldthwaite, 28-19, in a non-district Class 2A contest. Santo held a 13-7 halftime lead but the Eagles scored three touchdowns in the third quarter while holding Santo to just six.

The Wildcats will look to get back on the winning track this Friday when they welcome the Hamilton Bulldogs in another non-league matchup. Hamilton is also 1-1 after a 55-0 win over Bosqueville last week.

Millsap Bulldogs

Millsap fell on the road to Henrietta, 45-39, in a Class 2A non-district tilt to drop to 1-1 on the season. The Bearcats (1-1) raced out to a 21-0 first quarter lead and had to hold off a Millsap rally in the fourth quarter, when the Bulldogs put up 21 points of their own.

Millsap travels to Archer City (2-0) on Friday. Millsap will face a Wildcats team coming off a 21-13 win over Anson.

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