The Oak Mountain High School and Spain Park High School football teams are the fifth 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 Oak Mountain- Spain Park game is just one of 11 rivalries in the country being showcased this year.
From September through November, MaxPreps and the National Guard will travel the country and highlight a unique rivalry between local high school football teams and celebrate 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 Ricky Matthews hands the trophy to at the end of the night, Coach Bell and the Eagles or Coach Raney and the Jaguars, we will all have shared one of high school sports' greatest traditions: rivalries.”
Oak Mountain High School is only two miles away from Spain Park High School and as would be expected, this close proximity has fueled a rivalry over the past decade. Even though both football programs are fairly young (Oak Mountain in 1999 and Spain Park in 2002), the Oak Mountain Eagles and the Spain Park Jaguars have competed against one another from the start. This year will be their eleventh match-up with Spain Park holding the advantage as they have won the last six years and currently hold an undefeated record. However, with the Eagles coming off two wins against Pell City and Chelsea, anything is possible on Friday under the field lights.
“Having MaxPreps and the National Guard spotlight our game is meaningful. This game against Spain Park is not only a rivalry game, but also a region game,” said Oak Mountain head coach Cris Bell. “It is good for our program to be recognized. It is a chance for us to prove that we deserve to be in the conversation.”
“Because of the proximity of the schools, Oak Mountain is a natural rival, with our players knowing many of theirs,” said Spain Park head coach Shawn Raney. “Anytime you bring publicity to a football program, it is a great benefit to everyone involved, especially the players. We really appreciate the recognition from MaxPreps and the National Guard.”
As a part of the Rivalry Series, MaxPreps and the Alabama National Guard have been 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.
Alabama Army National Guard Master Sergeant Latosha Moultrie 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.
About MaxPreps: MaxPreps.com is America's leading online high school sports media brand, offering the most comprehensive high school sports coverage, with the latest news, analysis, rankings, and streaming content. A CBSSports.com site, MaxPreps.com aspires to cover every high school team, game, and player by partnering with state high school associations and over 35,000 varsity coaches throughout the country. Founded in August 2002, MaxPreps.com is headquartered in Cameron Park, California and is a unit of CBS Interactive. For more information about MaxPreps.com and for the latest high school sports news, scores, and expert analysis, please visit maxpreps.com
About Army National Guard: With more than 375 years of service, the Army National Guard is the largest reserve component, as well as the oldest branch of the U.S. military. In the National Guard, you get the training from us, serve in your own community, and enhance your marketability for a wider selection of jobs. We provide our members with money for college and offer attractive benefits on top of paid career training in one of 200 fields. The National Guard has career opportunities in every State, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, more than 3,600 training locations, and more than 350,000 members. Visit the National Guard Web site at NATIONALGUARD.com.