Cold Weather, Hot Rivalry, Hot Stakes: John Tyler versus Robert E. Lee - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Cold Weather, Hot Rivalry, Hot Stakes: John Tyler versus Robert E. Lee

Lee clinched a playoff spot last week. John Tyler needed a win to see the post season. Add a quest for revenge, a 33-year-old record, and a cross town rivalry more than a half-century old and it was an explosive meeting for REL and JT in 2006.

In 51 meetings, there has been no love lost or gained for that matter between Robert E. Lee and John Tyler.

"The whole season, I've been waiting for this game," said REL offensive lineman DeMichael Jackson.

"These young people have anticipated this game for a long time, even at the beginning of the season," said John Tyler teacher Rodney Curry.

The new millennium brought a new storyline between these old schools.  After an eight year drought against the Red Raider, the Lions took out some pent up frustration on the Red Raiders last year.

The Lions handed Lee a 42-7 loss. It was a pill that was still bitter for the Raiders to swallow.

"Everyday in practice that is all we talk about, what we look forward to the whole season is John Tyler," Jackson said. "Ever since last year, we're just waiting to redeem ourselves."

But the Lions also looked for a little gridiron redemption. The team needed a win to clinch a spot in the post season where they would join the Red Raiders.

"We got the chance to make the playoffs so we are going to make it a big time game," said wide receiver Rogderrick Warren.

Adding to the drama, the quest to break a record that has stood for 33 years. Once upon a time there was a Lion running back by the name of Earl Campbell. Not only did he lead his team to a state championship in 1973 but he also set the school's all-time career rushing record of 2,565.

It was a record that would go unbroken until Kendall Hunter hit the field in 2006. Against Lee he was just 174 yards shy of setting a new record.

It also seems Lee and John Tyler's rivalry stretches beyond the football field and even to the pantry. For 16 years the Pantry Raid benefits the East Texas Food Bank.

Each high school tries to top the other as the one to donate the most.

"They are really pumped up for it," Curry said. "They have worked hard for the pantry raid. They're just looking for another victory."

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