When it comes to the annual football showdown between Wilmington Friends School and Tower Hill, things can get pretty passionate.
It is annual game that dates back to 1924, with Tower Hill leading the series all time with a 47-39-2 record against Wilmington Friends, although Friends has the edge in coach Bob Tattersall’s era, at 27-15 in the last 42 years.
For instance, when given the choice between going 1-9 with one win against their archrival or going 9-1 with one loss against their archrival, players from both sides invariably said they’d rather go out with the one win against their arch nemesis.
“I’d rather beat Friends, definitely,” said Ryan Chenault, of Hockessin, one of three captains for Tower Hill. “If I came back 20 years from now for homecoming, I’d still remember the Friends game and these guys. It’s always a big deal.”
As Friends senior Jermaine Young puts it, the Quakers are pretty familiar with the Hillers. He’s even got a few friends at Tower Hill. But friendships get set aside for rivalry week, where signs like “Kill the Hill” pop up on the picturesque campus in Alapocas.
“Come rivalry week, I don’t want to talk to them until the game’s over,” Young said. “And if we lose, I don’t want to talk to them until next year.
“So, senior year I’m not trying to lose because I’m probably not going to talk to them for the rest of my life,” he said, laughing with his senior teammates.
It’s the one game that alumni from both Friends and Tower Hill are always interested in, players and coaches from both sides said.
For Tattersall, who took over in 1968, and led the Quakers to nine straight wins over the Hillers, the arch rivalry never gets old. It’s a tradition that is good for both schools, he said.
“We’re not having a great year this year. But you still have this game,” Tattersall said. “It’s like Harvard-Yale because it’s been going on so long … and also extends really beyond football. Most of the time, the games bring out the best in kids, whether they’re having a good year or not.”
It’s an honor to be part of the longstanding tradition between both schools, Tower Hill coach Kevin Waesco said.
“It’s certainly puts the exclamation point on the season,” Waesco said. “It’s the epitome of what high school rivalries are all about.”
Tower Hill senior Wills Morton, of Centreville, and junior Logan McCabe, of Newark, who are the captains along with Chenault, said the bigger crowds for this game make it even better.
“Homecoming or the Friends game is the best attended,” Morton said. “It’s great to be out on the field.”
Friends seniors Javier Horstmann, Jermaine Young, Matt Davis (Tattersall’s grandson), Kieran Smith, Matt Kempner, Rick Serra, Dan Carbone and Sam Davis agreed.
“It’s always an honor to play because you’re playing in a game that so many great Friends football players have played in,” said Matt Davis, of Brandywine Hundred. “Thirty years from now, you might not remember what your record was but you’re always going to remember if you beat Tower Hill or not.”
Reprinted with permission of The Community News