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September 12, 2013

Remembering the best of the best

This Friday will be the eighth edition of the Hwy. 57 Helmet rivalry football game between North Daviess and Washington. Like every rivalry game, it takes a little time to get going and last year’s two-day, overtime victory was one of the most exciting since the Helmet game began.

This got me thinking about what have been the best rivalry games I have seen since I started with the Times Herald way back at the turn of the century. In my humble opinion, these are some of the games that helped make this one of the most special places in Indiana high school sports.

I don’t think I really want to try to rank them, but these are some of the games that I found most memorable. There have been plenty of other great games, but these stuck out mostly because of the intensity between the schools.

I think the first time is always the one you remember best, so I will go with the 2000-2001 Barr-Reeve-Loogootee sectional final, where Loogootee won on a last-second shot to break a 24-24 tie. I can honestly say that was my first true taste of basketball in Southwestern Indiana. I had never really seen the “slow-down” style before and that was one I won’t forget.

Later that spring, the same two schools met in the baseball sectional finals and it was just as impressive. Ryan Wirtz homered and was throwing a no-hitter for B-R, when Loogootee was able to scratch out an infield hit and plate a run to tie the game in the seventh and eventually win it in extra innings. Still to this day, this was the best high school game and one of the best games at any level I have ever seen.

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