Best Rivalry 2013
The second annual Best High School Football Rivalry competition has crowned its regional champions, with 10 rivalries moving on to the national and final round on Wednesday.
The regional winners: Leominster vs. Fitchburg in Massachusetts, Westfield vs. Plainfield in New Jersey, Louisburg vs. Bunn in North Carolina, Wausau East vs. Wausau West in Wisconsin, Norfolk Catholic vs. Pierce in Nebraska, Upsala-Swanville vs. Royalton in Minnesota, Las Cruces vs. Mayfield in New Mexico and Mater Dei vs. Servite in California. The two wildcards are Douglas vs. Bisbee in Arizona and Warner Robins vs. Northside in Georgia.
The New Mexico rivalry garnered the most votes nationally in the regional round with 220,459.
USA TODAY High School Sports selected five high school football rivalries in each state and Washington, D.C. after more than a month of conversations with local media and other state/school officials with high school football expertise. From there, the fans decide which rivalry emerges from a list of 255 - more than 100 more rivalries overall than a year ago. The state round ran from Nov. 18-27, with the Massachusetts' rivalry of Leominster vs. Fitchburg receiving the most votes nationally. The regional round opened Dec. 2 and closed Tuesday, with eight regional winners and two wildcards moving onto the finals.
The final round began Wednesday and ends at noon ET Wednesday, Dec. 18.
The "Best Of" contest series launched in November 2012 with the first best high school football rivalry competition, won by Brookfield vs. Marceline in Missouri. The teams celebrated their national title rivalry on Sept. 13 in Brookfield.
The winner receives $5,000 to be split evenly between the two schools, with other prizes going to all of the national finalists.
In January, Hartford (Vt.) was crowned as the People's Champion high school football team. And the monster of them all – the top high school mascot last spring – was won by the Centralia (Ill.) Orphans after 80 million total votes were cast during the competition. Last month, the best high school football coach competition crowned Philip Haywood of Belfry (Ky.) as its champion.