Column: Glad CM-WHS rivalry will continue in SBAAC in fall ’17

By Mark Huber -

Every super hero needs a villain in order to justify his or her existence. If there weren’t Penguins or Jokers, there wouldn’t be a need for Batman.

And the villains, from time to time, must push the hero to the limit.

So regardless of which side you are on in the county football battle between Wilmington High School and Clinton-Massie High School, know this — both are good for each other when both are good.

Fans who root against the opposing team in a rivalry such as this are only trying to serve their own selfish desires.

I know many Ohio State fans openly root against Michigan leading up to The Game, but deep down they should want the Wolverines to win … except when they play each other. Many of the recent games in that hallowed series have lost their luster because the Wolverines have been little more than a speed bump in the Buckeyes’ road to glory.

This year, that speed bump has grown into a full-fledged wall. At least that’s the appearance at this point in the season. Can the Buckeyes scale that wall? Time will tell but be sure that motoring over a speed bump doesn’t hold the same thrill as climbing over a 10-foot barrier.

That Jim Harbaugh has Michigan back on the road to national prominence only makes things better in the long run for Ohio State.

Same for Wilmington and Clinton-Massie.

This is the final South Central Ohio League varsity football contest between the two Clinton County schools but the rivalry will carry on into the Southern Buckeye Athletic & Academic Conference next season. Both schools will be part of the American Division and will therefore be scheduled to meet each season.

While last year’s 29-28 thriller in the annual Backyard Bash — so dubbed by the Wilmington Kiwanis Club — may be the exception rather than the rule, we can hope the games continue to be highly competitive. This year’s game was another down-to-the-wire thriller with Massie coming out on top 23-21.

In the SCOL, Clinton-Massie’s “Harlem Globetrotters” had far too many matchups against “Washington Generals” to really benefit anyone. Only a handful of the 58 consecutive SCOL games Dan McSurley’s Falcons have won were in question going into the fourth quarter.

The Hurricane, behind the guidance of head coach Scott Killen, has put some much-needed juice into this rivalry. While the SBAAC American Division will provide both teams more overall competition than the SCOL has the past few years, this matchup will continue to be special.

It’s two Clinton County teams. Two teams who likely have parents and grandparents who shared rivalries. In fact, I’m sure families have ties — maybe even are divided — with both sides in this matchup.

Throughout it all, though, these two programs have maintained a high standard of sportsmanship. Friendly rivals, if you will. Sure, there are tense moments between players and coaches and fans. Wherever there is competition, of any kind, there will be times when people can cross the line.

Oh, the students from Wilmington have chanted “Let’s play basketball” during the football game a couple years ago, just like Massie students have chanted “Let’s play football” during a basketball matchup. To me, that’s not crossing any lines. That’s good, spirited fun.

Generally this is a good rivalry. Here’s hoping this football rivalry between the Orange and Black, and the Red, White and Blue carries over next season with the same fervor, spirit and well-meaning competitiveness it has the past couple of years.

By Mark Huber

Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, or on Twitter @wnjsports

Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, or on Twitter @wnjsports