Our town: Sports rivalries run deep, extend across generations

More than a river divides Waterford from Beverly.

The two communities, which Washington County Commissioner Rick Walters said are so close “you could drive a golf ball from one to the other across the river,” are home to one of the best known rivalries in high school sports.

The Fort Frye Cadets and the Waterford Wildcats — the reds and the greens — are sworn rivals in nearly every form of athletic endeavor, but particularly basketball and football.

Waterford resident and business owner Tyson Powers remembers when he was a coach at Waterford High School and his team beat the Cadets.

“They had a picture of my face with a target on it, hanging in the locker room,” he said.

Because the communities are just across the river from each other, families were sometimes divided by schools, he said.

“It would be cousins playing against cousins,” he said.

“A lot of it has to do with where your parents went to school,” he said. “It’s a fun rivalry because of the family stuff.”

Waterford residents Marilyn Young and Kenita Venham said the family divisions can become interesting, extending through generations as couples from Waterford and Beverly married and moved back and forth across the river.

“The question was always, where are the kids going to go to school?”

Young said with a laugh.

“That rivalry is pretty big,” Walters said. “I’ve lived in both places, had kids in both communities. There’s a lot of rivalry, even at the pee-wee basketball and football level. In recent years, that Waterford girls basketball team has been kind of a beast.

“It’s a friendly rivalry, though,” he said. “You’ll have a lot of these athletes spend part of the summer running around with opposing players.”

“You’ve got two good schools with a good rivalry,” Beverly resident Jim Black said. “You never know who’s going to come out on top, whether it’s basketball or football. But the schools cooperate, they exchange some classes when they need to.”

Jim Holman, a 62-year-old Beverly resident, said the rivalry goes back well into the past.

“I remember my dad talking about it from his school days,” he said. “It was a good friendly rivalry, but it’s still a good close community. I think it’s as strong now as it was in my dad’s time.”