A second chance.
In life, they’re not always hard to come by.
For example, if you hosted Thanksgiving for the first time and burned the turkey, will your hungry/angry guests want to come to your house next year?
Maybe not at first, but over the course of the year, and after explaining how you’ve been practicing the art of turkey cooking for the past 11 months, they might give you another shot—a second chance, a do-over, a replay.
But in sports, second chances don’t come so easy.
In fact, they rarely happen, since there is no “RESET” button outside of your living room.
Think back to your high school days, college days, or professional days. Was there one game, play, or moment you wish you could have back and try again?
Do you recall some unfinished business you left on the field and wish you could have done it differently?
How sweet would it be to have that chance?
What if you were told you could have another crack at it, and have it be against a bitter rival?
Well, for the Phillipsburg Stateliners of New Jersey and the Easton Red Rovers of nearby Pennsylvania, they were given that chance.
For those of you who may not be aware, these two high schools are part of one of the most intense, historic rivalries in all of high school football, dating back to 1905.
I grew up in New Jersey, and while the culture there may not equate to those in Texas or Florida, high school football in New Jersey is kind of a big deal.
My college roommate at Rutgers attended Phillipsburg High School, and from the first Thanksgiving of freshman year, I began to learn about the magnitude of the Phillipsburg-Easton game and just how important this rivalry truly is to the town and the school.
He told me, "the whole town shuts down. Everyone I know, family included, goes to the game. We roast the bird after."
Football and Thanksgiving make a great pair—as we know—but putting football BEFORE Thanksgiving? Now that’s controversial.
That’s a rivalry.
My roommate went on to say that, "you see old ladies there who have been going to this game for 50, 60, 70 years!"
The night before the game the town of Phillipsburg holds a fireworks display. In years past, the town would gather around a massive bonfire.
Separated by only about two miles and directly across the Delaware River from one another, the bragging rights never go unexercised.
Seeing how a whole community embraces the rivalry makes you wonder: How do the actual athletes involved feel?
In 1993—the 87th meeting between the Stateliners and the Red Rovers—the game ended in a 7-7 tie.
It was one of only five ties in the 100-plus game rivalry, and much to the dismay of every hungry soul at Fisher Stadium at Lafayette College, the better team on that day was never decided.
But earlier this year, Gatorade arranged a re-match of this historic rivalry game as the first part of their REPLAY series , which is a collection of sports documentaries devoted to the greatest high school sports rivalries.
As if the re-match of the 1993 tie didn’t have enough storylines embedded within, Eli Manning and his brother Peyton were chosen as honorary co-managers for each team.
For about sixty lucky players, they were given a second chance to re-live a historic moment from their sports past and put to rest any reservations they had.
A documentary about the REPLAY of the 1993 tie between the Phillipsburg Stateliners and the Easton Red Rovers was created and will be premiering this Sunday, November 29 on Fox Sports Net at 9:00pm.
If you weren’t able to witness the game in person earlier this year, here is your second chance to get a first-hand look at one of the oldest rivalries in all of sports.
For more information about REPLAY, please visit http://replaytheseries.com
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!