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We are ready for Round 3 of the county battles on the gridiron this week as Crawfordsville and North Montgomery will lock horns for the 51st time this Friday night at Crawfordsville.
These two rivals have played one another every year since North Montgomery opened its doors in the fall of 1971 — some 49 years ago. Two times — 1993 and 2016 — these two teams have added a second battle in the sectional.
Overall, the Chargers hold the upper hand with 29 wins in the previous 50 meetings. That is due mainly to a late domination on the field by the Chargers. North Montgomery has won 23 of the last 29 meetings. This includes North Montgomery wins in the last eight meetings.
So when was the last Crawfordsville win? That came on Oct. 7, 2011 when Crawfordsville handed the Chargers a 28-14 loss at Crawfordsville.
The last Crawfordsville win at North Montgomery came a long time ago. How long? Try 31 years ago. That is not a typo. The last Crawfordsville win over North Montgomery at North Montgomery came on Oct. 7, 1988 when Crawfordsville handed the Chargers a 27-13 defeat.
The win in 1998 was the first of four wins in a row by the Athenians and Crawfordsville won another game in 1993 giving them five wins over its county rivals in six years. Then North Montgomery took over and won 11 of the next 12 including nine in a row from 1996 to 2004.
Ironically, the only Crawfordsville win during that 12-year stretch came on Oct. 6, 1995 when the Athenians handed the Chargers a 22-8 loss in a monsoon. What was that ironic? For you avid football fans you might recall that was the year of the first of two state championship seasons for the Chargers.
Yep, the lone loss on the Chargers’ record in 1995 was that 22-8 loss to Crawfordsville who would go on to finish that season with a 2-7 record. By the way, care to guess who that other win was against for Crawfordsville that year? It came the week before – against Southmont (27-21). Those two wins gave the Athenians a county title.
After that win over North Montgomery in 1995, the Athenians did not win another conference game until Sept. 12, 2003 or a span of nearly eight years.
It would also be 10 years before the Athenians would win another county title as they earned that distinction under head coach Rex Ryker in 2005. Since that time the Athenians have been crowned the county champions only once that coming in 2007, also under Ryker.
North Montgomery is looking for its first county championship since 2015.
From 2004 through 2012 the two rivals split their games as each won their home games during that nine year stretch. However, the Chargers have rolled through the last eight meetings. Over the last eight meetings, the closest game has been a 14-0 win for the Chargers in 2016. In six of the eight meetings the Athenians have been limited to one touchdown, while North Montgomery has scored 36.7 points and has broken the 70-point barrier twice (71 in 2013 and 73 in 2015).
While North Montgomery has dominated the series recently, Crawfordsville was the heavy favorite early on. Crawfordsville opened the series by winning the first four games before North Montgomery got its first win on Oct. 17, 1975 in a thrilling 14-13 game. Crawfordsville pitched five shutouts in the first eight meetings.
North Montgomery did manage to win four straight games (1984-87) and who was a member of that first Charger team to win back-to-back games over the Athenians? None other than current Crawfordsville head coach Kurt Schlicher.
Montgomery County football fans (from both schools) will want to be on hand Friday night as Crawfordsville will be having a 30-year reunion for one of the most storied teams in all of Montgomery County’s history — the 1989 Crawfordsville football team which was a Final Four team.