This is an opinion column.
Geraldine Mayor Chuck Ables messaged me Thursday, seeking my help to answer a question about the Battle of Skirum Creek.
Chuck’s message reminded me the 100th game in the DeKalb County rivalry is now only 18 days away. Geraldine will host the historic contest Oct. 29 at 7 p.m.
Similar to the Iron Bowl, I believe the Crossville-Geraldine game, or Geraldine-Crossville game, never drifts far from the minds of players, coaches and fans. I’ve learned memories made in rivalry games seem to never be forgotten. If you’re a Bulldog or a Lion and you’re reading this, my guess is you recalled a memory from the rivalry. I did.
Forty years ago, I was a sophomore at CHS when the Lions rallied from a 16-0 first-half deficit to stun the host Bulldogs 35-23. Jeff Butler, David Holcomb, Mark Cotton, Mike Bobo and Bill Jennings delivered big plays for Crossville that night.
I was a senior in the fall of 1983 when Geraldine beat CHS 6-0, ending the Lions’ nine-game winning streak in the rivalry, the longest winning streak in series history.
I still remember a female friend, who graduated a year earlier, turned to me after the game and said, “At least we didn’t lose to Geraldine our senior year.”
The Lions dominated the rivalry in the 20th century, but the pendulum has swung in the Bulldogs’ favor in the 21st century. Since 2000, Geraldine is 16-5 against CHS, including a pair of five-game winning streaks.
For Geraldine, the defining moment in the series occurred in 1999, when Brandon Wade scored five touchdowns to power the Bulldogs to a 35-17 victory. Brandon’s spectacular performance helped GHS end a five-game losing streak in the series and change the program’s mindset.
Crossville rallied in the final minute to edge Geraldine 28-22 in the 2000 matchup, but the Bulldogs won the next three meetings to gain control of the series, which was first played in 1926. The Lions lead the all-time series 57-39-3.
In 1982, my cousin Michael “Xanadu” McMullins helped the Lions beat Geraldine 26-6. Michael played guard at 145 pounds, and he was fearless. Crossville finished 10-0 in the regular season in ’82.
Twenty years later, Michael’s son, Justin, rushed for 124 yards and scored three touchdowns to lead Geraldine to a 38-13 triumph over the Lions. The victory was significant for the Bulldogs, because it was their first at Crossville Memorial Stadium since 1972.
New Geraldine head coach Michael Davis went 3-1 against Crossville during his playing career. As a senior, he rushed for 141 yards and touchdowns of 53 and 34 yards and also caught a 45-yard TD pass in a 35-12 win over the Lions.
I’m sure Coach Davis will have the Bulldogs ready for the 100th game in the rivalry. New Crossville head coach Josh Taylor gets to experience the Battle of Skirum Creek for the first time.
If the Lord blesses us with excellent weather on Oct. 29, I hope CHS and Geraldine fans pack Coolidge Isbell Field to watch history occur.
Shannon J. Allen is publisher for The Reporter. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.