The La Salle Academy and Bishop Hendricken High School football teams are the tenth rivalry game to be featured on the inaugural "MaxPreps Rivalry Series presented by the National Guard." The announcement was made by MaxPreps, a California-based company that offers comprehensive high school sports coverage, and the La Salle Academy-Bishop Hendricken game is just one of 11 rivalries in the country being showcased this year.
From September through November, MaxPreps and the National Guard have traveled the country and have been highlighting a unique rivalry between local high school football teams and celebrating the spirit that rallies their community every fall season.
"It is hard to imagine sports without powerful emotions triggered by fierce rivalries. For players, coaches and fans, gearing up for rivalry games makes the long grind of practice ‘worth the work.’ In fact, there are few things in life that conjure up the raw emotion and excitement that comes with preparing for and competing against your high school's rival, and that's what the MaxPreps Rivalry Series presented by the Army National Guard is all about – showcasing that intensity," said MaxPreps president and founder Andy Beal. "Regardless of which team Sergeant First Class Cloutier hands the trophy to at the end of the night, Coach Marcone and the Rams or Coach Croft and the Hawks, we will all have shared one of high school sports' greatest traditions – rivalries."
Considered to be one of the best rivalries in the state, La Salle Academy and Bishop Hendricken have been battling on the gridiron for over four decades. Hendricken dominated the football rivalry in the 1990’s, while La Salle held the advantage in the 2000’s. Now over the past seven years, the Rams and Hawks have not only played one another in the regular season, but also in the postseason five times. Unique to the state of Rhode Island, these two private Catholic school powerhouses actually play in a league that hosts both private and public school competitors. In 2011 and 2012, the two teams competed for the state title in the “Division I Citizen's Bank Super Bowl,” where Hendricken took home the hardware both years.
This Friday is another big one. With La Salle needing to win their last two games to have a chance at the postseason, Hendricken, which boasts eight state championship titles since 1968, is looking to close its league play slate with one last victory.
"To be recognized by MaxPreps and the National Guard is an honor and privilege," said La Salle Academy head coach Geoff Marcone. "It is a tribute to the success of both programs. It is a great feeling to be spotlighted and our kids are excited."
"Not only is it great publicity and an honor to be recognized, but Rhode Island high school football benefits from all this as well," said Bishop Hendricken head coach Keith Croft. "Even though we are the smallest state, we are proud of our high school football programs. We hope to represent our state well."
As a part of the Rivalry Series, MaxPreps and the Rhode Island National Guard will be on campus this week to share the experiences and perspective from both teams as they prepare for Friday's big game. MaxPreps' editorial team aims to bring the excitement and passion to life with the Rivalry Series online hub (www.maxpreps.com/rivals) through personal interviews with players, students, staff and the community in photo, video and social conversation.
On game day, MaxPreps and the National Guard will create an interactive 'Game Day' experience where students and fans from both schools can participate and compete in football tosses and more.
Rhode Island Army National Guard Sergeant First Class Cloutier will present the winning team with the Army National Guard Rivalry Trophy after the game. This trophy, which features the Minuteman statue, will be engraved with the final game score and be updated each year so the trophy can be displayed year-round at the winning team's school.
"For over 375 years, the men and women of the National Guard have come to the aid of their neighbors during times of need. As Citizen-Soldiers who serve part-time, we live and serve in more than 3,500 communities throughout the country," said MAJ Mark Burns of the Army National Guard. "It is our privilege to honor and celebrate the competitive spirit of our neighbors, sons and daughters through the MaxPreps Rivalry Series presented by the National Guard."
For MaxPreps, an important element to the Rivalry Series presented by the National Guard was featuring key rivalries in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Southeast, whose communities rally together with week-long festivities in anticipation for the big game. After careful examination, MaxPreps worked to showcase a broad range of these rivalry games. MaxPreps and the National Guard are proud to highlight each one of these games, because they are the most important game of the season for every team that dons a helmet and takes the field in pursuit of victory over their rival.