Arp vs. Troup, Tigers vs. Tigers - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Arp vs. Troup, Tigers vs. Tigers

Their mascots are both the Tigers, they both wear maroon and white and they are separated by just seven miles of Highway 135.

It is one of the state's oldest rivalries: Arp versus Troup. It is the game the folks in both towns wait all year for.

"You feel a little pressure, but you have to think of it as another game," said Troup defensive end Reginald Wade. "But, it's hard to think of it that way because it's Arp."

"One team could be the worst team in the state, one could be the best but when we play it's just a good football game. Rankings are out," said Arp right tackle Zach Spears.

For the 2006 meeting the school colors and mascot were not the only similarities. Both teams came into the game 3-0, undefeated.  One rival would be able to brag about giving the other their first loss.

"It's just time to go crazy," said Troup quarterback Nick Harrison. "It's a fun game and everyone's excited."

From the smallest folks in town to the oldest, the rivalry runs deep. At Arp elementary as a fundraiser the school sold spirit loops at 10 cents each. They raised $4,000 by selling 40,000 links.

"That's 22 football fields if we lined it all out," said Johna Huse, Arp Elementary Principal. "1.26 miles. So we're just unbelievably overwhelmed at our kids."

The kids lined the halls to show love towards the varsity Arp players.

"It was great motivation for us," said Kendal McClendon, Arp's quarterback.

"The elementary is great," Spears said. "We always like going down there. We feel like super stars, NFL players and stuff when we go down there."

Seven miles up the road in Troup, the little ones were the biggest cheerleaders.

"All your life you are ready and when you are little like them, you want to be in the pep rally shaking hands," Wade said. "Then when you are finally shaking hands it just makes you feel good."

For most of these players all their lives they have known their opponents. Some are even relatives.

"Half of them are cousins and a lot of us friends," Spears said. "We do a lot of stuff during the week together. On Sunday's go to church together. We have a lot of trash talking, good rivalry weekend."

"As much as you can, you just try to ignore the distraction and focus on the game," Nick Harrison said.

That includes the trash talk. In two towns where everyone knows everyone, some players choose not to answer the phone.

"I've got a whole bunch of friends over there (in Troup) and a whole bunch of people that don't like me, but it's all good," said Corey Walker. "I haven't talked to any of them. I didn't want any discussion about it."

But there will always be talk and bragging rights, as another year of the Troup and Arp rivalry rolls by.  For the game there was a friendly little wager made between the superintendents of both school district's. The loser has to take the winner to dinner at the Country Tavern.

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