Bennett from the Bleachers: Pioneer football to Class 6 endangers Turkey Day

Bennett Durando
Sports Columnist

Bennett_Column Black & WhiteRed Sox-Yankees. Bears-Packers. Ohio State-Michigan. Auburn-Alabama. Celtics-Lakers. Duke-Carolina. Barcelona-Real Madrid. Joe Frazier-Muhammad Ali.

Then there’s Webster-Kirkwood.

Whatever people may say about the greatest rivalries in sports, those in suburban St. Louis know the true nature of a rivalry. In our minds maybe none is more meaningful than the Show-Me Rivalry, which features the famous Turkey Day game between the two historic schools.

However, Webster and Kirkwood’s century-long tradition may be in jeopardy now, as the Pioneers football program will make a transition up to Class Six, the division with Missouri’s biggest high schools. Kirkwood and Webster both previously competed in Class Five.

“There are lots of great teams, not just in St. Louis, but all across Missouri,” commented Kirkwood coach Matt Irvin. “We know it will be challenging, but we’re very excited for it.”

Though this is a huge jump for Kirkwood, the Turkey Day festivities of late November could face danger with two schools playing in different classes. Both schools will still definitely see it as a priority to keep the game being played annually like always. With the teams in different classes there is an increased chance of one team making State, in which case the JV squads would play.

Though Webster’s top priority is to be a serious State contender every year, some of the tradition could dissipate with the junior varsities playing more often.

They already have been playing more than the Varsity teams lately. Almost every year, one team is making a run deep into the playoffs and preventing Varsity from meeting at Turkey Day. Last year the Statesmen reached the state semifinals before falling to Parkway Central, one game shy of setting up another JV game.

It was quite the run for Webster though, highlighted by a 21-19 upset victory over (who else?) Kirkwood in the district championship game. The Pioneers got their revenge on their home field at Turkey Day, with a 44-0 rout of the Statesmen.

That will be the last Turkey Day Game with both teams in the same class. The rivalry survived once when Webster was down in Class Four, while Kirkwood was in Five.

Hopefully tradition will prevail, and Turkey Day will survive once again.

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