GREATER LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — As West Lafayette and Lafayette Jefferson High Schools get ready to compete in the first game of the season, both city mayors are among those most excited.
“I graduated from West Lafayette High School in 1977,” said West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis.”
“I graduated from Jeff in 1978 and I played football there,” said Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski.
Both growing up on two different sides of the river, playing for their high school football teams and becoming mayors of Greater Lafayette. They say this football game is special.
“This one's a little special because it's the two cities against each other and it was gone for such a long time,” said Roswarski.
This is the second year the two schools will compete after nearly 70 years.
“The athletes, the players. They played hard, they did a great job,” said Dennis. “It was because of the fans. There was a lot of innocent pranks that might have gone a little bit overboard from what I understand.”
School district leaders and community members made a decision to end what they deemed unsafe behavior by not letting the two schools compete in football. Dennis and Roswarski believe this new re-sparked rivalry will be much different.
“I think the difference now is that the game has taken on a completely different meaning,” said Roswarski. “It's not just two schools competing for local status. It's more like two schools that have accomplished and achieved so much.”
“AAU sports now being so popular a lot of those kids are integrated on teams you know during the offseason and different tournaments and things like that,” said Roswarski. “I just think in general because of things like that people are closer together.”
They may not agree on the outcome but they say it will be a good game.
“I think it's going to be a close game but I think West Lafayette's going to end up on top,” said Dennis.
“It's going to be a tough game and I personally think the Broncos will prevail by about seven points,” said Roswarski.