“It's a tradition,” Wells said. “It needs to be played.”
A middle-school student in 1985, Alexander sat in a crowded gym watching Tulsa Washington's Richard Dumas play against a Douglass basketball team that would go on to win a state title. Washington won by a point that night, but Alexander saw his future before him.
“That was the moment I knew I wanted to be a Trojan,” he said.
Alexander went on to play in a few football games against the Hornets. His most memorable moment is the one he really doesn't remember at all.
On the final play of the first half in 1989, Alexander and another teammate collided in mid-air trying to intercept a pass. Alexander landed on the ground unconscious.
“When I really woke up, I was looking up into the bright lights in the hospital room,” he said. “All the hospital people were wearing white. I said, ‘Boy ... I done died!'”
Added White: “The whole team got on the bus and had to go to the hospital to pick him up. We didn't get back to Oklahoma City 'til 3 in the morning.”
Current Washington assistant Mickey Collins played in the rivalry in the mid-1970s, and can't wait to coach in it again Friday night.
“It was the biggest game of the year for both schools,” Collins said. “It was a battle royal every year. For the people who played in it or really knew what it was about, we hated to see it go.”
Though some of the fringe aspects of the rivalry changed over the years, the passion on the field and in the stands never faded.
“It was our own little Super Bowl,” said Douglass assistant Alonzo Mayes, who played for the Trojans in the early 1990s and will get to coach in the game for the first time Friday.
“Those games were a measuring stick for us before we went into district play. These schools are tradition-rich. They've had state championships and Division I recruits on both sides. We're both rebuilding those traditions from the old days.
“The thing both of our schools are out to do is keeping our traditions strong and making them even stronger.”
For a decade, one of the state's great football traditions has been dormant. But as of 7:30 Friday night, the Douglass-Washington rivalry doesn't have to only live in a nostalgic world of stories about how great it used to be. It will live on the football field again.
“It was a great series for a long time,” White said. “I think everyone is glad to see it resume.”
Class 4A No. 3 Douglass at Class 6A No. 13 Tulsa Washington
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Where: S.E. Williams Stadium, Booker T. Washington High School, Tulsa
Noteworthy: This game is special at Tulsa Washington beyond the renewing of the rivalry. The Hornets are celebrating their 100th year as a school, and doing so in a newly refurbished stadium. Douglass will host the rivalry game next season, but in 2014 and beyond, the game will be played at Langston University.