One of the great things about football, is the long-standing rivalries between teams.
There are many great college football rivalries, such as LSU and Ole Miss, Texas and Oklahoma and Alabama and Auburn.
It’s the same with high school football, as teams all over Louisiana have heated rivalries with schools that go back decades.
One of the most heated rivalries in north Louisiana has been the Minden and Haughton rivalry.
Haughton won the first documented varsity contest back in 1967, 14-13.
Over the years, Mindan and Haughton have played a number of hard-fought and blow-out games, with both teams being on both sides of those outcomes. The schools were long-time district opponents, although that is no longer the case.
Haughton now competes in Louisiana’s highest class (5A) under the leadership of head coach Rodney Guin who is in his thirteenth season with the Buccaneers.
Minden competes in 4A, and is now led by a newcomer to the rivalry in second year head coach, Spencer Heard.
Even though the game is no longer a district match-up, the bitter rivalry is alive and well for both communities.
“These schools have been playing for a long time,” Heard said. “It means a lot to the people here. Our players understand that and they’re excited to play in this game. It’s always an intense game and you can count on a big crowd and a tremendous atmosphere.”
Coach Guin echoed those sentiments and added a few of his own.
“These are always fun games,” Guin said. “It may not be as big a deal to the kids today because it doesn’t have those district implications but for the old-timers in our community and theirs it means a lot and the games are always highly contested.”
Longtime Minden assistant and former head coach Ronnie Whatley, can still remember the emotions and bad blood between the schools, going all the way back to 1979.
“That year, right as we snapped the ball on a sweep play, Haughton ran a twelfth man onto the field,” Whatley said. “He tackled our back near the goal line. I still think we scored on the play but they said we didn’t. The referees missed the call on the extra man. That was my first year at Minden and that’s what started it for me.”
Whatley also remembers the “Black Rose” incident.
The story, as told to the Haughton football team by one of their coaches, is that in the mid-90’s someone from Minden High sent a bouquet of black roses to Haughton High School the week of game, to signify that the Tide was going to “kill” the Bucs in the game at Haughton that night.
After the game, which turned out to be a Buccaneer win, Haughton fans swarmed to the Crimson Tide bus and threw the black roses onto the bus. Which in turn, prompted Minden players to try and exit the bus to confront the Buc fans.
Luckily coaches prevented any altercation before anything could happen. Whatley is certain no one from Minden sent those roses, but whether or not Haughton coaches did it themselves as a motivational tactic remains a mystery.
Over the last ten year’s the rivalry has fallen off somewhat due to the fact the games have become one-sided. Minden has lost eight of the 10 games, with the Crimson Tide’s last win caming in 2009.
But in a series that has seen its fair share of the unpredictable outcomes, maybe this is the year where the Tide turns, and Minden goes out to win eight of teh next 10 games.
Tickets for the game are going fast, so Minden fans are encouraged to get them while they can and support the Tide tomorrow night.
Game time is 7 p.m. at Haughton.