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Reagan’s Rivalry Resurgence

Photo+courtesy+of+the+1968+Comet
Photo courtesy of the 1968 Comet

Photo courtesy of the 1968 Comet

Photo courtesy of the 1968 Comet

Bryan Sak, Staff Writer

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As the current football season gets underway, students have a big question to face: Who is the school’s next big rival? With the realignment brought on by the University Interscholastic League, the Maroons have dropped from 6A to 5A until at least the 2018-2019 season. With this shift in divisions comes new opponents and the potential to reignite an old rivalry.

   For many seasons, dating back to the 1980s, the Maroons’ main rival was the Westlake Chaparrals. Parents who went to Austin High fondly remember games against the Chaps. For over 30 years the tradition stood. Current students, recent alumni, and those that have moved well beyond their high school years all remember the intensity and passion that moved through the school before that Friday night. The games will forever be memorialized in “Beat the Chaps” t-shirts and camo-print hats. However, for the time being, students just might need to find a new favorite Friday night rival.

    Before the days of Westlake, the Maroons had a deep-seated rivalry with the then newly-opened Reagan High School. In 1965, Reagan opened to the public, and former Maroon  Travis Raven became their football team’s head coach. Raven turned Reagan into a Texas football powerhouse, winning three state championships in a four-year period, from 1967 to 1970.  Every season, heated games were played between the Maroons and the Raiders, including a 1969 midseason game at the University of Texas’ Darrell K. Royal Memorial Stadium that over 30,000 people attended. Perhaps the best way to understand the depth of the rivalry is this: Maroons head coach at the time, Jim Tolbert, who refused to shake Raven’s hand following the game at Memorial, which ended in a 27-7 Maroons victory. Eventually, though, the teams began playing less and less, and various changes in divisions over time put the rivalry to an end.

   With the UIL realignment, players and students have a chance to bring back this previously unmatched rivalry. The Maroons will play the Raiders at House Park on Oct. 13. Players and fans shouldn’t be afraid to stoke the flames of an old rivalry on home turf. A generation or two later, Maroons have the ability to bring back something great from the past.

 

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Reagan’s Rivalry Resurgence