The Big One: Bobcats, Tigers square off in Carroll County Super Bowl
Faces change, but the football rivalry between Berryville and Green Forest remains the same, even after more than 40 years.
Green Forest will be the home team Friday night as the Carroll County Super Bowl is played for the 45th consecutive season. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
For coaches and players on both sides, this is more than just another non conference game. In many ways, this is the biggest game of the season.
"If you lose this game, you got to see them people and run into them all year," former Berryville football coach Ronnie Clark said.
Green Forest shut its football program down abruptly in the 1950s after a fire that started in the high school gym destroyed the school's football equipment.
The Tigers resurrected their football program in 1970. Green Forest struggled for the first few years but in 1976 the Tigers went 10-0 --including a victory against Berryville in the last week of the regular season.
Kevin Robertson, who played for Green Forest that season, said the Tigers were eager to prove to the county that Green Forest football was back.
"It sure was a milestone for us," Robertson said. "It was in Green Forest that year, which made it all the more special because our home stands were full and all around the track was full. I mean even though we had gone undefeated in the previous nine games, I think in everybody's mind, we were thinking, 'This is what really proves if we made it or not.' And of course we did and it was a great game."
The Bobcats and Tigers were conference rivals until they were assigned to new leagues after the 2005 season. That ended the tradition of playing each other in the regular-season finale.
"Being in the same conference with Berryville for all those years was good competition," former Green Forest coach Bill Gotto said. "I feel like some of the importance was lost when it was no longer a conference game anymore."
Even though the Carroll County Super Bowl no longer has the potential to affect either team's conference standings, it can provide a momentum boost heading into conference play.
Fred West, who witnessed the first Green Forest-Berryville game as a spectator, said he believes that when Berryville won in 2006, it showed the Bobcats that they could do something special that year.
"When we beat them in 2006, I think that propelled us on to the playoffs that year," West said.
When Berryville and Green Forest fans get together for the 45th time Friday night, it is sure to be another crazy game.
"If people want to see an exciting football game and they only go to one, then they need to be at this one," Clark said.