SAN ANTONIO – John F. Kennedy was in the White House and the average price of a new car was $2,849 the last time Jourdanton and Pleasanton high schools clashed on the football field in 1961.
The Indians and Eagles will square off for the first time in 55 years Friday night in a nondistrict game at Indian Stadium in Jourdanton. Kickoff is at 7:30.
The matchup has created such a buzz in the two towns – located about five miles apart on Texas Highway 97 – that the police chiefs have made a wager on the outcome of the game. The winner will get the satisfaction of seeing the loser wear the jersey of the winning team to work Monday.
“It’s been a little different this week,” Pleasanton football coach and athletic director Tab Dumont said Thursday. “People have been talking about this game since we put it on the schedule in February. We’ve been selling tickets all week long and I expect it to be standing-room only.”
Jourdanton Police Chief Eric Kaiser and Pleasanton Police Chief Ronald Sanchez met last week at neutral site – the Atascosa Livestock Exchange, which sits between both towns – to officially make their wager.
“There’s this little, tiny strip right between Jourdanton and Pleasanton, so we said, ‘Hey, let’s meet there. That way we can say we met in neutral territory,’” Kaiser said. “We went over there and took a picture. It was fun.”
Kaiser and Sanchez are both quoted in a Facebook post about the wager.
“I expect Chief Sanchez will look good walking into the Pleasanton Police Department in Indian red,” Kaiser said in the post.
Not to be outdone, Sanchez expressed similar confidence in the Eagles.
“I think that Eagle green will stand out quite nicely on Chief Kaiser in Jourdanton next Monday,” Sanchez said in the Facebook post.
Kaiser said Thursday he has a jersey picked out for Sanchez and plans to take a photo of him Monday morning at the Pleasanton Police Department.
Dumont and Jourdanton football coach and athletic director Darrell Andrus said that the enthusiasm of Kaiser and Sanchez reflects the passion for high school football that runs deep in both towns.
“I think it’s really neat that two communities can come together like that and have fun doing it,” Dumont said. “I know both communities are very good and I know they’ll support their teams win, lose or draw. To me, that’s what it’s all about.”
Andrus has an uncle, Sandy Steinle, who played for the Indians when they lost to Pleasanton in 1961. Steinle and two other members of the ’61 team, Marshall Darby and Billy Wayne Kaiser, spoke to this season’s squad Wednesday after practice.
“We even made jokes about whether they had face masks when they played,” Andrus said, chuckling. “But what they said really resonated with the team. There’s been a big buzz. Jourdanton is a typical small town and everybody knows everybody. I think this game has been good for both communities.
“It’ll have a playoff feel to it tomorrow night, and that experience of playing in a big rivalry games brings out the best in you and prepares you if you’re fortunate to make the postseason. As Tab said, we’re expecting a real big crowd.”
Andrus graduated from Jourdanton and is in his third season as the Indians’ head coach and AD.
Friday night’s game will be only the second for Jourdanton at its new stadium, which seats 2,500 but has standing room for another 500.
Although Jourdanton and Pleasanton are close in proximity, they have competed in different UIL classifications for decades. Jourdanton is in District 15-3A/Division I this year, and Pleasanton is a member of District 15-4A/Division I. Both teams are 1-1 this season.
“We’ve got more kids than they do, but they’ve got more kids playing football than we do,” Dumont said. “They’ve got 37 seniors and we’ve got 14. That ‘A’ in front of those schools doesn’t mean a whole lot. If you’ve got a good team, it doesn’t matter if they’re 2A, 3A, 4A or 5A, they’re going to be good. And Jourdanton is good.”
The University Interscholastic League classifies schools by enrollment and realigns districts every two years. The UIL announced its latest realignment in February. Jourdanton has an enrollment of 417 and Pleasanton has 963 students this fall.
“We’ve always been a little bigger than them, but their enrollment grew,” Dumont said. “In the last realignment (before this year), they were in our district in everything with the exception of football. We were Division I and they were Division II.”
Andrus said he’s glad Jourdanton and Pleasanton finally are squaring off on the football field again.
“People have waited a long time for this game,” he said. “It should be a lot of fun.”
(© 2016 KENS)