Friday Night Blitz Rivalry Profile: Thurston and Churchill

Over the last couple of years, a new rivalry has sparked in the 5A classification.

Posted: Sep 7, 2019 1:20 AM

Springfield, OR -- The games between the Churchill Lancers and the Thurston Colts over the years have connected the two teams for the near future going forward. The players and coaches said the games are physical and bring out the most in the competition.

"When you're playing in a game with so much hype, and so much adrenaline and so much emotion put into it," said Churchill quarterback Dylan Carson. "You know from this season and last season, it just. It makes you up your game."

Rivalries aren't created overnight; they're built over a number of seasons and usually are intensified with a big time win. For these two teams, it was last season's quarterfinal playoff game, in which Thurston won by one point.

"That Churchill game after we won it was right up there with winning the State Championship game and the feeling wise, felt great," said Thurston running back Wesley Kommer.

The two teams played eachother three times last year. Once in a non-league game to kick the season off, a league game in October, and once more in that quarterfinal battle.

Carson said, "Playing them three times last year, that was really difficult you know trying to beat a team three times, it's hard and so when you have kind of that tension and that kind of anger from last year built up, I'd say it's definitely a big rivalry and a big game."

The rivalry wasn't all Thurston last year. It was Churchill, who actually won majority of the games. The Lancers won the first two matchups by a total of 27 points, before losing the final game by one. While the games are fun for both sides, they both agree they don't want to be on the losing end.

"You know when you get an opponent like Churchill who you know, you can always count on being talented," said Thurston receiver Kyle Casley. "You know we respect them but at the same time you know we want to come out and really really dominate."

Despite the games carrying more weight, both coaches preach to their players to treat the games like any other week.

"Playing Thurston, they're a physical team. First few plays they come at you quick and after that it just like slows down. Then it's just a regular game after that," said Churchill linebacker Samuel Yanez.

But rivalries aren't only measured by the physicality on the field. It's also strives from the respect the teams have for one another off of the gridiron.

Churchill's head coach, AJ Robinson said, "Anyone that's a competitor you know like, you get to play the number one team in the state at their place the year after they win the state title, like you know anyone who has competitive juices is going to get fired up for that game."

"They're a tremendous program. You know things that they've done, playing in that state championship game and the quality of a team that they had last year and the quality of kids and coaches that they have this year, I'd say it's definitely a rivalry," added Thurston's head coach, Justin Starck.

But at the end of the day, there can only be one winner on any given night, and on September 6, it was the Thurston Colts. 

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