ABILENE, Texas - The Abilene High Eagles and Cooper Cougars both have the same excitement, but are on opposite ends of the spectrum for Friday's Crosstown Showdown game.
"I love it because the buildup is just awesome," Abilene High senior receiver and defensive back Wes Berry said. "The emotions are running, then we go out there and hit it Friday night."
"I don't think people grow up dreaming of playing in a football stadium with only 50 people in there," said Cooper head coach Todd Moebes, who will be involved in his tenth Crosstown match-up, which kicks-off at 7:30 p.m. at Shotwell Stadium.
"They dream of these big types of games with a lot of energy and emotion and passion. It's what makes this game great."
The Cougars are riding a tsunami of momentum thanks to a 41-37 come-from-behind victory over Grapevine, which defeated Cooper 61-7 in 2016.
"We're pretty confident in what we do. I think that helps us," senior Cougar linebacker Justin Wright siad. "I think that's why we're 2-0, and I think that's why we're going to be 3-0 on Friday night."
On the other side of both the field and the standings, the Eagles enter with two losses to begin the season.
They've been able to play well for a half, but have yet to string together an entire game of positive play. However, that could all change in a rivalry game like this.
"There's no doubt everybody plays at a different level in this game, both sides of town," Abilene High head coach Del Van Cox said. Friday will be Cox's 22nd Crosstown game all-time, and his third as head coach.
"It brings out the best in everybody."
Abilene High will not have starting running back and linebacker Terrell Franklin available. The senior was on crutches at Tuesday's practice, and Cox said Franklin will need surgery on his left knee.
"It's a lot of trash talking, honestly," Wright, a captain for Cooper, said. "It used to mean something district-wise, but now it's a pride thing."
The Cougars have not beaten the Eagles since 2013, and seem like the favorite in Friday's game with how well they have played to begin the year.
"We'll have to see Friday," said Berry. "Go to war and see who wins."
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