Alexander said: "It’s a respectful rivalry. There’s no hatred there. It’s just an ultra-competitive one.”
The excitement this week goes beyond the football field for the schools. Community interest and support of the football teams hasn’t been lacking for either.
"It’s a really big deal in the community,” Douglass quarterback Antyoun Smith said. "We’re talking about it at Douglass, and I’m sure they are at Star Spencer.”
For Douglass, the game is a chance to reestablish itself as a championship-caliber team after a steady rise in Alexander’s three seasons.
At Star Spencer, it’s both a chance at redemption — Douglass won the regular-season meeting 34-28 — and a chance to put itself with the Trojans as the premier football programs in Oklahoma City Public Schools.
"We’ve been waiting on this for a long time,” Star Spencer senior Antoine Watson said. "We’ve been working hard in practice (since) August to get to this point, and to be in this position is great.”
No matter the outcome, though, the school district is the winner.
"It’s very significant,” Alexander said. "I think we’ll probably get a lot more respect that we’ve been getting. Both programs have been good for a long time.”
The school district is in the early stages of Ingersoll’s plan to improve football. The plan includes stadium renovations and artificial turf at all district football venues.
First-year U.S. Grant head coach Terrell Love, who previously served as an assistant under Hall at Star Spencer, certainly appreciates the significance of Saturday’s game.
"It’s doesn’t get any bigger,” Love said. "This is where everybody who’s had anything negative to say about Oklahoma City football won’t have anything more to say.”
Love said he’s heard the "undisciplined” tag being given to the district’s teams.
"Maybe in the past that was true,” Love said. "But when you look at the leadership across the board in this district, things have changed. We’re going in the right direction, and they’re getting people in those positions that are going to do things the right way.”
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