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Select a region below to vote for the best rivalry in that region »

Select a region above to vote for the best rivalry in that region »


USA TODAY High School Sports writers Jim Halley and Jason Jordan choose their personal favorite rivalries in some off-beat categories below - you can click on the map above to vote for your favorite overall rivalries in each state.

Best big-city rivalry 

The annual Mount Carmel-St. Rita game is the epitome of a big-city rivalry. The Chicago Catholic League Blue teams are from the city’s South Side, with 90 meetings between them since the series started in 1924. Each remains competitive at the state level. Mount Carmel has won 10 state titles in football to two for St. Rita since the Illinois High School Association began holding state playoffs in 1974. Mount Carmel has sent quarterback Donovan McNabb and defensive end Simeon Rice, among others, to the NFL, while St. Rita’s recent NFL players include quarterback Mike Kafka and punter Ryan Donahue. With quarterback Don Butkus, the great nephew of former NFL Hall of Fame linebacker Dick Butkus, leading the way, Mount Carmel defeated St. Rita 27-0 on Oct. 13 and leads the overall series 58-30-2.

‑ Jim Halley

Best small-town rivalry

Dover (Dover, Ohio) and New Philadelphia (New Philadelphia, Ohio) square off in the state’s third-oldest rivalry. The towns of Dover and New Philadelphia share a border, and each have a population of roughly 12,000-18,000 people. That means on game night both towns are virtually shut down. The rivalry is so heated that during the week of the game, students are not allowed to eat at restaurants in the other town during their lunch breaks.

‑ Jason Jordan

Best traditional rivalry

Webster Groves, Mo., vs. Kirkwood, Mo., is one of the longest-running Thanksgiving games west of the Mississippi, so it has tradition. The series started in 1898 and the teams first met on Thanksgiving in 1907. Unlike many of the old rivalries in the East, these two teams remain among the top teams in the state. Plus, the series is still close as Webster Groves leads, 53-43-7. If you just count the Thanksgiving matchups, the series is tied at 37-37-5. Plus, what other high school rivalry has a trophy for the winner and the losing team? The winning team gets to keep the Frisco Bell, a 400-pound locomotive bell donated by the Frisco Railroad Company. The loser gets the Little Brown Jug. The only downside is several times in recent years, the teams' JV squads have played instead of the varsity because either Webster Groves or Kirkwood had to play the following weekend in the state title game.

‑ Jim Halley

Best up-and-coming rivalry

Jenks, Okla., and Union (Tulsa, Okla.) have been playing since 1949, but beginning in 1996, the rivalry has intensified with either Jenks or Union winning the state 6A football championship every year since. The teams meet before a large crowd (40,000 in 1999), usually at the University of Tulsa's Chapman Field, early in the regular season with the game dubbed "The Backyard Bowl" because the teams are only eight miles apart. The teams frequently meet again for the state championship. This year, Union edged Jenks 14-7 to even the series at 13-13 since 1996.

‑ Jim Halley

Best interstate rivalry

Marinette (Marinette, Wis.) vs. Menominee (Menominee, Mich.) is an intense rivalry that began back in 1894 between two towns separated by the Menominee River. The “M&M” game typically draws more than 8,000 fans and is the oldest interstate rivalry between public schools. Menominee rolled past Marinette, 48-26, on Oct. 13 in the 106th meeting. This one edges a couple of other interstate gems - Lawrenceville School (Lawrenceville, N.J.) vs. Hill School (Pottstown, Pa.) and Bradford Area (Bradford, Pa.) vs. Olean (Olean, N.Y.).

‑ Jason Jordan

Best coaching rivalry

Brother Rice (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) coach Al Fracassa and Harrison (Farmington Hills, Mich.) coach John Herrington play in the same classification, Division 2, and these longtime coaches are among the top 10 in wins, nationally. The 2011 Division 2 state champ was Brother Rice and the 2010 champ was Harrison. Herrington has produced 13 state champions and nine undefeated seasons. Fracassa has won seven state titles.

‑ Jason Jordan