By Adam Brown for The White House Connection
In what may be one of the most anticipated football games throughout Middle Tennessee this season, the White House Blue Devils and White House Heritage Patriots meet for the first time ever Thursday night at Vanderbilt University. Kick-off is scheduled for 7:30.
Unlike most rivalries, there does not appear to be bad blood between the teams. Rather, there is a mutual respect among the coaches and players as both teams represent the community of White House in their own way and to the best of their abilities. While many people are excited about the games there is some wariness and hesitation among the coaches.
“This is now a district game so it is an important game,” said White House Coach Jeff Porter. “It’s historical because it is the first game between the two schools. I think Coach Brown and I are both very pleased that we have been able to avoid playing this game for 12 years. I believe that it was the right decision for this community not to play, because I don’t want to see it divided.”
White House Heritage Coach Pat Brown said much the same thing.
“Our kids know one another. They grow up together and play youth sports together. It just so happens that now there are two high schools here. We have been very fortunate that this town has supported both sides. It has been one of those relationships that has been pretty cohesive and that was one of the concerns we had. We don’t want a bitter rivalry. We want something that the community can be proud of,” Brown said.
White House has won two closely contested district games so far and Porter knows things won’t get any easier Thursday night. “We are not where we want to be,” Porter said. “We are no different than any team before us, we are a work in progress. Heritage will come to play. So we will have to keep pressing and keep working to try to get better.”
Brown also knows this will be a tough game. “We want to be competitive in the district,” he said. “We have to come out with our ‘A’ game each time we take the field. We haven’t necessarily done that in the past. We have to ratchet it up a bit and get our guys ready.”
The fact that the game is being played at Commodore Stadium has added a level of excitement. “I think that everyone is excited about playing in that type of atmosphere,” said Porter. “It is something that everyone in this community will talk about forever. It is an exciting time for both football teams and this community.”
Brown added, “The key thing about this game is that it is our first meeting. I think that it is special our kids get that opportunity. It is definitely a big venue for a big game. The kids will get to play in a stadium that they would otherwise never see. It will create memories for a lifetime and that’s what we are about.”
Coach Porter seemed to speak for both coaches when he put everything into perspective. “I know that each team will play hard. I know that there will be a high level of sportsmanship. When it all comes down to it, it is just a game.”