This is an opinion column.

Marilyn Brown serves as assistant principal and athletic director for Geraldine High School. Recently, she shared with me a press release featuring details about the 100th renewal of the Battle of Skirum Creek, scheduled for Oct. 29 at 7 p.m. at Geraldine’s Coolidge Isbell Field.

“Each team will honor three to four participants who have had a great impact on their respective program,” Marilyn wrote. “We will also be establishing the tradition of the winning team housing the new Battle of Skirum Creek trophy for the year.”

Geraldine is also hosting the Battle of Skirum Creek Tailgate on the day of the game. The school is renting 12x12 spots for $25 each.

Items to bring include coolers, food, grills, chairs, tables, games, speakers (no explicit content) and decorations. Prohibited items include alcohol, tobacco and anything else against school policy.

Tailgating begins at 3:30 p.m. after school traffic clears. Renters can set up their tents at their assigned locations from noon-2 on Oct. 29. A trophy will be awarded to the most spirited tent.

Everything must be cleaned up after the football game that night.

To rent a spot, contact Casie Goble (, Ashlei Wanninger ( or Marilyn (  People can also call the school at 256-659-2142.

If I could choose one person to honor at the 100th Battle of Skirum Creek, it would be the late, great Gary Coker. Gary was a Geraldine graduate who married a former Crossville homecoming queen in Marie Williams. He understood the rivalry from both sides.

Gary’s coverage of Bulldog and Lion sports, which began in 1968, contributed to an outstanding resume that landed him in the DeKalb County Sports Hall of Fame in 2006. He made popular referring to the football game as the Battle of Skirum Creek, and I believe he covered it every season during his career until his health began to decline.

Two weeks ago, I searched through the sports files at The Reporter and found a copy of an article Gary wrote about the Crossville-Geraldine game in 1996.

“Research tells us Geraldine first suited up for football back in the school year 1923-24, but Crossville’s first campaign was 1926, with the two teams squaring off for the first time that fall,” Gary wrote. “It is believed that game was played in Joe Hope’s pasture in Geraldine, with the Bulldogs winning that one and the next two.

“The Lions got their first win at Geraldine in 1929 when speedster Wyman Ingram returned Ralph Stevens’ opening kickoff back over 90 yards for a touchdown, and that was the final score in a 6-0 victory.”

Gary was my friend and mentor, and I still miss him. I’d love to see what he might have written about the 100th Battle of Skirum Creek.


Shannon J. Allen is sports editor for The Reporter. He can be reached at

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