By Dan King
After a 10-year hiatus, the Whitehall-Granville football rivalry could make a comeback this year.
Whitehall athletic director Keith Redmond wants to bring the rivalry back; and this year, he’ll have some more pull. Redmond now sits on the Section II Football Committee and he told The Sentinel Friday that he will be pushing to bring back the once-prominent football rivalry.
“Just knowing what I know, we’re going to do everything in our power to make that game happen,” Redmond said. “Eileen Troy (Granville athletic director) is on board too.”
Troy said, “I am always in support of the Granville-Whitehall rivalry, not only in football but in all sports. Football is certainly one of the oldest rivalries (even in the sport of football) dating back to 1921 when Granville defeated Whitehall 26-0.”
She also stressed that the two schools will certainly be playing in some other fall sports, including varsity cross country, girls soccer and possibly golf. The two schools will also square off in a modified football scrimmage on Sept. 15 in Whitehall.
Both teams are scheduled to play a crossover game the weekend of Oct. 22. Whitehall, a Class D school, would play a non-playoff Class C school. Granville, a Class C school, would play a Class D school. However, that could change if Granville has a good season and makes the playoffs.
“We want to play for a sectional championship,” said Granville coach Mario Torres. “If we don’t qualify for sectional play, we’d be happy to play Whitehall … We’d be happy to play any team.”
The Class C football playoffs start the weekend of Oct. 22. So if Granville makes the playoffs this year, there will be no crossover game, and thus no Whitehall-Granville matchup.
In the case of Whitehall, it doesn’t matter if the Railroaders make the playoffs, because the Class D playoffs don’t start until the following weekend.
“If it doesn’t look like Granville is going to make the playoffs, we’re all going to make sure our voices are heard,” Redmond said.
He said he is pushing for the rivalry to return because he thinks it’ll be beneficial for both communities.
“I think everyone between both communities wants this to happen,” he said. “That rivalry coming back and the atmosphere it brings – with around 2,000 people at a game – that can make a season.”
Torres agreed, saying, “I think the rivalry is a good think for both communities.”
The Railroaders and Golden Horde haven’t squared off since 2006, when Granville pulled out an 18-15 victory. The two schools used to meet on an annual basis, but with schedules now determined by classification, Granville plays a Class C schedule and Whitehall plays a Class D schedule.
Whitehall holds the all-time series edge, 39-34-4.
Last season, both Redmond and Troy pushed for the game to take place during the crossover week, but it didn’t come to fruition. Granville instead played Tamarac, while Whitehall was unable to find a crossover foe.
The two were also close to facing off in 2014, until Section II axed the proposal to reignite the rivalry. Section II officials claimed at the time that a scheduling conflict with the Class C schools caused them to nix the game.
Both teams kick off their 2016 seasons on Sept. 3. The Railroaders will travel to Helderburg Valley and the Golden Horde will host Hoosic Valley.