March 18, 2014

Sterner knows rivalry well


A long-time high football rivalry will be renewed for the first time in nearly two decades.
For the first time since 1995, Oskaloosa and Ottumwa will meet on the gridiron to renew pleasantries.
The teams have met on the football field 92 times in a series that dates back to 1898.
The teams will play each other twice in the next two seasons with Oskaloosa hosting the game Sept. 5.
The Bulldogs won the last meeting 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.
“When I talked to Coach (Mike) Sterner, he was very excited about it,” Oskaloosa Activities Director Kevin Pederson 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.’”
Sterner is glad the rivalry is coming back.
“I played against Ottumwa in ‘86 an ‘87, and it was a great rivalry game at that point in history,” he said. “I was on the coaching staff in 1995 when we last traveled to Ottumwa for a varsity game. For many years up until 1996, the Oskaloosa versus Ottumwa game was a great contest. I was looking back in the history books and it looks like the Oskaloosa v Ottumwa game was a yearly contest going back past 1900. It made sense in many ways. One, geographically we are close. Two, we have played one another  for many years, officially going back to 1897 when Oskaloosa played the Ottumwa YMCA team, three, we have continued to pick them up to play JV games when we could so our kids are not strangers to the Bulldogs.”
Sterner is looking forward to taking on Ottumwa for at least two more times. 
“Ottumwa has a solid football tradition in its own right and a new coach, Coach (Zach) Pfantz, who seems to have them moving in a pretty positive direction,” he said. “Our community knows very well the tradition that this game once held and we look forward to rekindling such a positive rivalry.”

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