Photo by Salt Water New England

Monday, February 8, 2021

What are Some of the Great Prep School Rivalries?

Choate Headmaster George St. John, Center (Seymour on Left).  Photo by My Father

“Choate has been playing Deerfield since 1922, but it wasn’t right away that we became rivals...,” said Ms. Judy Donald, the Choate Rosemary Hall Archivist.  The rivalry officially started with a football game between Choate and Deerfield on October 7, 1922. Ms. Donald said, “The headmasters George St. John and Frank Boyden knew each other very well, so starting the rivalry seemed logical....  The early games from the 20s exhibited the ideal rivalry in the eyes of both men: clean sportsmanship above all else, but a healthy competitive spirit and desire to win.” 
- The History of Deerfield Day <http://thechoatenews.choate.edu/2017/11/10/history-deerfield-day/>

28 comments:

  1. Our rivalry was not nearly as noteworthy, but my school (Wooster School) had a friendly rivalry with the Harvey School (in Westchester County, NY). We were not an athletic bunch, but we won the sportsmanship award most years!

    Lacrosse was the only sport that anyone took seriously. I ran cross country in the Fall and played tennis in the Spring. We always lost to Choate.

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  2. Perhaps note "Great" other than to us - Noble & Greenough School vs. Milton Academy.

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  3. Hotchkiss vs Taft, naturally. Some of my fondest memories of prep school days are of events leading to, and during, Taft Day on campus.

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  4. The Interstate Athletic Conference, spanning greater DC, northern Virginia, and some of Maryland, had some excellent rivalries, especially in basketball. It was always good when St. Stephen's beat St. Albans or Episcopal High.

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  5. We played hockey. Our public high school was always among the best in New England. For extra competition we “scrimmaged” nearby prep schools. We learned a few things from them. “Clean sportsmanship” not withstanding, they perhaps learned from us, as well. Years later I coached a kid whose father I, evidently, skated against, He said, “your school had better skaters. But the kids from
    West Haven, they hated the preppies.”

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  6. Baylor and McCallie in Chattanooga.

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    1. I'm a McCallie grad, and can speak to the nature of that rivalry. The week leading up to the "big game" was loaded with excitement. T-shirts for sale along with spirit items that could include anything from pin-on badges to boxer shorts. A big pep rally, bonfire, and dance would take place the night before. A caravan of decorated cars would drive to the game's location, and they were often lead by a firetruck and escorted by the city police. At that age, it just didn't seem like life could get any better than that. That rivalry is considered one of the oldest football rivalries in Tennessee and the southeast in general.

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  7. Went to a couple of raucous “Blair Days” at Peddie while I was courting my wife, who was a legacy (father ’52, grandfather ’28). We still have a stack of Peddie Chronicles from the 1950s when her grandfather was head of the alumni association. Peddie/Blair rivalry goes back to 1903.

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  8. Andover v. Exeter

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  9. Buckingham vs Winsor

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  10. Philadelphia's William Penn Charter School and Germantown Academy have the oldest continuous high school football rivalry in the United States. As of 2020, the record is PC 86 wins, GA 38 wins, 11 ties (135 meetings).

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    1. I wouldn’t leave out the Main Line day schools; the Episcopal Academy - Haverford School football rivalry dates to 1889.

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  11. Norwich (Conn) Free Academy vs New London (Conn) High School is the nation’s oldest high school football rivalry. Thank you.

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  12. Andover v. Exeter!

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  13. "In the first of over 110 football games in the third oldest football rivalry in the country, Kimball Union Academy played Vermont Academy in 1897 at The Old Playground. Vermont won 22-0."

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  14. Episcopal-Woodberry Forest

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  15. The annual football game between Woodberry Forest School and Episcopal High School is the South’s oldest continuous high school football rivalry (1901).

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  16. Groton vs. St. Marks?

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  17. In Baltimore -- McDonogh v Gilman -- goes back a long time

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  18. In hockey — Avon Old Farms v Salisbury School — best skaters

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  19. I would make a strong case for Tilton - New Hampton and the annual Powder Keg. Tilton and New Hampton have been competing in sports for many years, and the first “Powder Keg” began as a football game in 1895. The New Hampton School and Tilton School rivalry is the third oldest prep school rivalry in New England. Exeter and Andover began in 1878, while Groton and St. Mark’s began in 1886.
    https://bit.ly/379ULXT

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    1. @LouHarv -- that is a fascinating bit of trivia. Thank you.

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    2. You are most welcome, it’s a fun rivalry. However, I only know this because I’m a Tilton alumnus. Our little Lakes Region Conference (Tilton/Holderness/Proctor/Brewster/New Hampton/KUA/Vermont Academy) is often overlooked for the better known schools in MA/CT.

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  20. St. Paul's has an important and influential tradition of intramural rivalries. For 'club' sports The Old Hundred vs. Isthmian vs. Delphian. For crew, Halcyon vs. Shattuck. (Legacy students are assigned to the same clubs as their forebears.) Other old prep schools have similar intra-school rivalries. Owen Johnson's "The Lawrenceville Stories" recounts them with verve: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OI6tJjoHyaE

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  21. Canterbury v Trinity Pawling football games were always intense in the 1970’s.

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  22. My school's (the Hill School) rivalry with Lawrenceville. Dates from 1897.

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  23. Foxcroft vs. Madeira

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