Eau Claire (WQOW) -- There's one Thursday game on this week's high school football schedule: Eau Claire North vs. Eau Claire Memorial.
It'll be the 55th edition of the Crosstown Showdown, with Memorial holding a 34-16 advantage over North.
The Old Abes can clinch a spot in the WIAA playoffs with a win, while the Huskies hope to play spoiler.
"We really stress that every week is equally important," says North head coach Josh Fizel, "obviously when you bring a North-Memorial game into it, the kids think differently. They've grown up together, they've played together. They've played other sports together. And they definitely want to make sure that they play their best football game on Thursday night."
"We know what's at stake," says Memorial head coach Paul Kling, "they're definitely an improved, a better team, they've played teams very well. It's just one of those things: we know what's at stake and the kids understand that."
WQOW News 18 will have much more on the matchup in each sportscast leading up to Thursday's game. We'll even go back in the past to talk to some people who played in this rivalry game...and what it meant to them, then and now.
Some of the more recent players in the ECN-ECM rivalry have gone on to play college football....including eight former Old Abes and three former Huskies on the current UW-Eau Claire roster.
"It was a great game, great atmosphere to play in," says Mark Munger (ECM '11), we were really just blessed to be able to do that in front of this community and in front of all those people at Carson Park."
"It's just such a great atmosphere," says Adam Faanes (ECN '12), "it seems like you get the whole city there watching you guys, under the lights on a Thursday or Friday night, whatever it is, and it's always a good time."
"I've known lot of the guys for many years," Jason Faanes (ECN '11) says, "a lot of my life, and going into that game it made it that much more fun, you know, off the field we're good buddies, and I love the individuals but then I always hated Memorial as a team."
"I moved here when I was in seventh grade," says Clint Larsen (ECM '11), "so I really didn't have the upbringing as these guys had together, so it was kind of a new experience for me."
"I had a lot of great experiences with those north-side kids," Munger says, "they'll hit you down but they'll pick you up, they'll be the first guy to give you a hand and pick you back up, and then after the game, go shake hands and say, hey, great job, it was great to play against you guys."
"It's just a fun week," says Adam Faanes, "the whole week it's like the whole community is talking about the North-Memorial game, we'll just see who comes out on top on Thursday."
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