It all started with a kick.
In his first year as Guthrie coach, Rafe Watkins didn't make it a point of emphasis to beat Carl Albert. However, one kick served noticed to the Titans and the rest of Class 5A that there was a new superpower on the horizon.
Former Guthrie kicker Russell Rush connected on a 30-yard field goal with 17 seconds left to give the Bluejays a 23-22 victory in 2001. It was Guthrie's first victory against the Titans since 1991.
And since that 2001 game, you don't know what to expect when the Titans and Bluejays get together, but you know it's going to be something special.
"Just the name 'Carl Albert,' and you know. You know it's going to be big time," Guthrie senior Kentrell Brothers said. "Knowing how prestigious they are. They never have a down season. It's time to go to work."
It's been more than work — it's been about championships. The teams have combined for six of the last nine Class 5A state championships, and the Titans are the defending champions.
But how did this game reach this level? This insane frenzied week with so much electricity and intensity?
Geographically, these teams shouldn't be rivals. This isn't like a natural rivalry like you see in the greater Oklahoma City area involving the Norman, Moore, Edmond and Putnam City schools.
The schools aren't close to each other like Midwest City and Del City or Yukon and Mustang.
It is nearly 40 miles from Carl Albert High to Guthrie High. But that hasn't meant anything to either team's fan base as the visitors' bleachers are always standing-room-only when the two meet.
"For us, it's probably the biggest rivalry we've got," Carl Albert coach Gary Rose said. "It's friendly but intense. It's spread out into all the other sports, too. We love playing Guthrie, and we have the utmost respect for them."
One reason why Rose respects Watkins is because until recently, Watkins has had Rose's number.
Watkins is one of the few coaches to hold a winning record against Rose; he is 5-4 against his good friend.
Watkins was 5-2, but the Titans have won the last two meetings, including a 40-14 thumping last year at Jelsma Stadium that the Bluejays have not forgotten about.
"I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Carl Albert is the measuring stick in 5A," Watkins said. "They graduate kids and just replace them with new ones. It's incredible what they're able to do. That's where we want our program to be."
The second-ranked Bluejays (5-1, 3-0) and the third-ranked Titans (5-1, 3-0) will renew the rivalry Friday night at Carl Albert.
Both teams were expected to be among the state's best and haven't disappointed. Carl Albert's only loss was 12-10 against No. 1-ranked Tulsa Washington. Guthrie's only blemish was a 37-36 loss at 6A's No. 7-ranked Enid.
Guthrie is outscoring its opponents by an average of 34-9, while the Titans have topped that at 44-8.
In their tuneup games last week, they won by a combined score of 128-0.
Every player remembers their first memory of the rivalry, and every player is anxious to create some new ones.
"It was 2007. We lost (24-21), and I was devastated," Carl Albert senior Dwight Dobbins said. "I was so hyped for that game. I wasn't even playing. That's just how much this game means."
Said Brothers: "My first memory would be my sophomore year in 2008 (CA won 16-13) and facing Christian Smith. He was one of the strongest people I've ever faced.
"He gave me a real good wake-up call. He pancaked me on the first play of the game. You don't forget that. I want to make sure I do something special Friday."