LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — Rivalries are one of the many things that make football great; whether it’s Arkansas versus Texas in the 60s, the Cowboys and the Redskins in the 90s, or literally everyone and the Patriots today.
Before we kick off a new high school football season on Monday, there's one rivalry that defined a generation right here in Little Rock that deserves a little attention.
For over a century, football has been apart of the capital city with games dating back to the early 20th century.
"In the early days, Little Rock High School would sometimes play college, club, or even military teams. One year on Thanksgiving they beat what’s now now UCA 45-0 and the Arkansas Gazette commented that the only reason the score wasn’t higher is because it rained so much and the field was so bad."
In the mid-1950s LR High School became Little Rock Central to make way for a brand new high school and a brand new football team. As a result, the rivalry was born... but it almost ended before it could begin.
"The first Hall-Central meeting was on 1958 on Thanksgiving Day. That was the year the schools were closed, so Orville Henry writing for the Gazette wrote whether he wondered if that would be the only meeting of the two schools."
Luckily it was not, and for the next 25 years, the Tigers and the Warriors would clash on Thanksgiving Day. Former Razorback and Central Tiger Jimmy Walker went 3-0 versus Hall from 1973-to-1975.
"It didn’t matter what your record was— if you won that Thanksgiving Day game, it was like winning a championship belt."
The central quarterback of those teams, just a couple of nutty kids by the name of Houston and Danny Nutt.
Former player John FoglemnaThe stadium was packed, all around the track. I mean it was great times, great rivalries and we won three straight years.
Today, John Fogleman is the head coach of the Catholic Rockets, but for the former Hall Quarterback, it was a house divided.
"I can remember going to some of the Turkey Day games because my sisters went to Central and one of them cheered in the last game, so I remember it would just be packed there at Quigley."
In 1983 the Turkey Day tradition came to an end, and a new tradition was born.
It was at that time they introduced the Battle of the Bell as a way to carry on the rivalry.
But nonetheless, both of the sides were packed there at Quigley and you’re playing for the bell and it was just a lot of fun.
The fun came to an end in 2011. Both schools now in separate classifications, there was no more rivalry. That is until now. The two teams scrimmaging this week on the very field where it all started, and one year from now they’ll meet at Scott Field for the season opener in 2020.
"Battle for the Bell and great guys that have played on both sides of the ball and we’re excited to get it back going."
Legends of the past excited about the hope for the future.
"You know if we can get that rivalry back I think it’ll catapult these guys to where they can start winning again. The state championships have now been in Bryant and North Little Rock and we need to get that title back to Little Rock."
Whether you’re a Tiger or Warrior you can’t argue with that.