March 14, 2014

Osky, Ottumwa to renew long-standing rivalry on gridiron


Imagine Ohio State and Michigan not playing a game for nearly two decades. Or USC-UCLA or Harvard-Yale.
For the first time since 1995, one of the oldest rivalries in the state of Iowa will be renewed in 2014.
Oskaloosa and Ottumwa have met 92 times on the gridiron in a series that dates back to 1898.
The teams haven't met each other since 1995 when the Bulldogs won 25-0 and has a 50-40-2 advantage in the series.
The Indians get to close the gap some in the upcoming season as the teams will renew acquaintances Sept. 5 in Oskaloosa in a non-district game.
Ottumwa will host the rematch Sept. 4 at Schafer Stadium.
Oskaloosa Activities Director Kevin Pederson said Ottumwa was one of five schools he listed as non-district opponents for the next two years.
He said he put Ottumwa high on the list because he'd liked Oskaloosa to play the Bulldogs again.
"We wanted to have Grinnell back because it's a good game and have good crowds," Pederson said. "We put Grinnell No. 1 and Ottumwa No. 2. We also had Fairfield, Indianola and Williamsburg on the list. They're all good competition schools.
"The state association looked at the location so we didn't have to travel 2 hours for a game. That worked out good for us. Our schedule is going to be tough."
The other non-district opponents will be Winterset and Grinnell.
Pederson added that the coaches and players are excited about renewing the rivalry with Ottumwa.
"When I talked to Coach (Mike) Sterner, he was very excited about it," he said. "It was a good rivalry between Ottumwa and Oskaloosa for many, many years. The people I've talked to that have been in Oskaloosa for a long time have been very positive. Comments like 'We need to play those guys.'"
He said Ottumwa is going to be competitive and Oskaloosa can compete with them and will be a good, hard-fought game.
Pederson doesn't know if the rivalry will go beyond the next two years because of redistricting by the Iowa High School Athletic Association.

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