It was the night before the biggest game for both Roswell and Goddard’s football players. This game is so important, that all was quiet in Chaves County. No one was stirring, not even a mouse. For the next 24 hours, it was an unspoken truth that crime was suspended and death took a holiday. Not even the head coaches were talking.
Nearly everyone will pack the Wool Bowl for standing-room-only tonight, and if they cannot make it, they will watch the livestream of the game or listen to it on the radio. All throughout the city, employees will be wearing shirts of their favorite team. Each high school will be full of school spirit, in a few short hours, both teams will walk to the center of the field, shake hands and engage in a football game that will be remembered for the ages.
This is a game where reputations and legacies are made. In years to come, no matter what happens to these two teams, whether they go on to win the Blue Trophy or not, the players will look back on their senior season and talk about what happened in the Roswell-Goddard game. In a way, this is almost like an Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) match where there can only be one winner.
This is a game that if a player is tired, they’re staying in to help their team win. If a player has a little cut or bruise, they’re rubbing dirt on it and playing. This a game where no one wants to let their team down, but more importantly themselves.
Roswell Daily Record sports talked to some of the most prominent people in the community, from those who have played in big games or coached in big games to running for mayoral election or superintendent of a school district. Each person knows about facing challenges that both teams will face on Friday night. Here are their thoughts on the excitement of the big game tonight.
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“When they’re ranked No.1 and 2 in the state,” first-year athletic director Britt Cooper said, “it is the perfect scenario both teams are having great seasons. They are liable to see each other again. Both teams and coaches know what’s on the line. I’m sure it is going to be a good game. When you have the three best teams in the state in the same district, it is going to be a fun one to watch.
Cooper has had his share of rivalry games against Goddard as the head boys basketball coach for Roswell until retiring two years ago.
“We just want everyone to come out and enjoy it,” Cooper said. “Remember, it’s all about the kids and keeping everything in perspective. It is great that both of them are good and understand that both of them are going on in the playoffs — that’s what they’re all shooting for.”
Mayor Dennis Kintigh feels like this may be the only time that both teams have been ranked No.1 and 2 in district 5A, but both teams are known for their standard of excellence on the football field.
“That is an awesome thing for both teams,” Kintigh said. “This community has had a history of excellence in football that goes back decades. This is a standard and they have upheld it.”
Kintigh feels that both teams playing at home during the playoffs will bring a positive economic impact to the city of Roswell, but more importantly, he wants other teams to be able to play in the Wool Bowl and come to Roswell and see what the community has to offer.
“Unfortunately, there are many parts of the state that have no clue what Roswell is,” Kintigh said. “I hope other communities get to experience what a great community Roswell is during the playoffs. Everybody is pumped up about this game today. Everybody makes a big deal about how we have two schools — ‘yeah, but we also have twice the opportunity for our young people to participate in sports.’ We want our young people to have the opportunity to participate in a quality environment, and that’s an awesome thing.”
The bigness of this game has not escaped Roswell Independent School District Superintendent, Dr. Ann Lynn McIlroy, who is excited to be a part of her first Roswell-Goddard game. She believes it is a great way to show community support and pride in Roswell student-athletes.
“It’s also a great opportunity to demonstrate that as a community we can cheer for all of our kids,” McIlroy said, “and wish the very best for them regardless of the outcome. We only have winners here. I even had a special T-shirt made up just for this game.”
McIlroy believes that athletics teaches so many great lessons beyond techniques or rules of the game. She believes that it teaches kids to work toward common goals to support one another and to believe in something bigger than oneself.
“Sports builds character traits,” McIlroy said, “such as perseverance, humility, selfishness and grit. All traits that serve them well in the classroom as students and beyond.”
In a matter of hours, two teams will walk into the Wool Bowl with a lot to lose. If nothing else, bragging rights until the next time they meet, which could be in three weeks.
Tickets will be sold at the Wool Bowl at 4:30 p.m today and the gates will open at 5 p.m.
For more on both teams, check out the RDR’s special section in today’s edition, “Red vs Blue.” Also, follow the RDR’s sports coverage of the game as we will do something that hasn’t been done before. RDR editor John Dilmore will cover Goddard exclusively, and J.T. Keith will cover Roswell. In Saturday’s edition, readers will see dueling stories from both teams’ perspective. All to provide the readers with the most comprehensive sports coverage of the game.