SIDELINE SCENE: Old rivals, new stakes when Dr. Phillips, Olympia take field

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  • | 1:58 p.m. October 22, 2015
SIDELINE SCENE: Old rivals, new stakes when Dr. Phillips, Olympia take field
SIDELINE SCENE: Old rivals, new stakes when Dr. Phillips, Olympia take field
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There will be a new dynamic added to an old rivalry on Thursday when the Olympia Titans travel east on Conroy Road before turning south on Turkey Lake Road — all of 4.2 miles — to take on the Dr. Phillips Panthers.

This time a district championship could well be on the line.

While previous installments of this rivalry included bragging rights and swayed the standings in the Metro Conference, Olympia’s move to Class 8A, District 5 this fall means the longtime rivals are now district rivals.

And although Olympia is coming off down seasons in 2013 and 2014, the Titans have regained their swagger and their relevance this fall under first-year head coach Kyle Hayes. Olympia is 5-2 overall and 2-0 in the district.

Meanwhile, Dr. Phillips has recovered from a three-game skid earlier this season — against three of the top teams in the state — to thump Oak Ridge and Freedom in its first two district matchups.

All of which means these two teams — undefeated in 8A-5 — will be playing for first place.

This should be fun.

Historically, the rivalry has not been kind to Olympia. Dr. Phillips leads the all-time rivalry 14-2, and the reality of that record may be even worse than it first appears considering that the Titans’ wins came in 2003 and 2004 — meaning the Panthers are winners of 10 consecutive games in the series.

It is a rivalry that has seen some epic games, though, and the two have met in the state playoffs twice (2009 and 2010). It is also a rivalry that literally has seen future NFL players (see Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Trevor Siemian) as well as too many Division I players-to-be to count.

In 2009, the two teams played in front of the largest crowd in Dr. Phillips history — 5,300 rowdy fans. Later in 2009, the two teams met in a playoff thriller that saw the Panthers squeak out a 23-22 win.

History is history, though. 

Dr. Phillips will be favored to win this year’s game. Although the Panthers have more losses, there’s not much of a comparison between the strength of schedule the two teams have faced. Still, winning does wonders to build confidence and a five-game win streak after two years where wins were hard to come by has undoubtedly done wonders for morale for the program located on Apopka-Vineland Road.

As for the program located on Turkey Lake Road, scoring another definitive district victory and locking up yet another district title would be more justification for playing the toughest first-half schedule in the state.

Either way, as someone who doesn’t have a horse in the race, I’m just hoping these two programs can channel their 2009 showdown and give us a contest to remember.


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