Extra motivation is rarely needed to fire up players, coaches and supporters of Jacksonville High School and Palestine High School when the Fight'n Indians and the Wildcats are scheduled to do battle on the gridiron.
With Palestine holding an ever-so slight, 37-36-3, advantage over the Tribe, its clear to see just how even this series has been over the years.
When the two bitter rivals line up against each other at 7:30 p.m.on Thursday, September 5 for the 77th meeting since 1913, there will be a unique element present, that of television.
For the first time in school history (according to Matt Montgomery, a member of the Tribe's radio broadcast team and a historian of all things Jacksonville football), an Indian football game will be televised.
KTXA Channel 21 (Dallas-Fort Worth) has selected the tilt as a part of its series of high school games, mostly involving high profile teams from the Metroplex, that it will be broadcasting this fall.
KTXA currently televises all of the Texas Ranger Friday night games. The station is available locally on both Dish Network and Direct TV.
Chris Taber, Jacksonville High athletic director and head football coach said Monday that having a regular-season game televised is something that he is looking forward to.
“I think it's a great opportunity for our kids,” he said. “Anytime you can play on TV to promote our kids and our program, it's great.”
To accommodate television, the schools agreed to move the game to Thursday night — it was originally schedule for Friday, September 6 — and JHS officials don't anticipate that being an issue.
“Thursday is not much different from a Friday, because Thursday is a walk through day for us anyway,” Taber said. “Being a rivalry game it doesn't matter what day you play it on...the kids will be up for it.”
“I anticipate that our fans will travel well to this game,” Deena Brand, who coordinates many of the ticket selling activities for JISD, said. “Not only because of the rivalry factor of it being Jacksonville-Palestine, but the fact that it will be on television will make people want to be at the game even more.”
The game will be the Wildcats' 2013 home opener, as Palestine is scheduled to open the year at Waco LaVega on Aug. 30 and Palestine officials are pushing for a sellout (8,000).
“We are trying to get the stadium packed,” Lance Angel, Palestine athletic director/head football coach said in an interview with the Palestine Herald. “That's a goal of ours. Playing on a Thursday night, maybe people that support other schools will get a chance to come out.”