Texas High and Arkansas High know there is so much more at stake than just a win tonight when the Razorbacks host the Tigers for the 104th Battle of the Axe.
For Texas High, it's a chance to pick up its initial win of the season and, perhaps, begin a win streak — as the Tigers did last season.
For the Hogs, it's a chance to improve to 2-0 and fine-tune a young team the final time against live competition before conference play begins. AHS has consecutive open dates the next two weeks.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Razorback Stadium.
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"Texas High will be a huge challenge for us, just from a numbers standpoint," AHS head coach Barry Norton said. "We have a lot of kids who go both ways. We're up against it, but there's nothing that says we can't go have a chance to win the game. They've got a big offensive line, a Division I athlete at quarterback, a Division I athlete at receiver, everybody in the country is recruiting their defensive end; they've got good players, a lot of them, and they've got depth. The depth is the part that concerns me because you've got to be able to play for a long time.
"The other part is we have to take care of us; we have to be the best us we can be. We have to go play the best game we possibly can, each man, and if we can do that we'll have a chance."
The Razorbacks (1-0) beat Liberty-Eylau, 38-27, last week to start the season.
Quarterback Braylon Bishop threw for 162 yards and two touchdowns and added a rushing TD for the Razorbacks, and running back Torie Blair also had a pair of rushing scores. Receiver Tavree Green hauled in both of the aerial touchdowns from Bishop, and Christian Stewart booted the field goal midway through the fourth quarter to extend the lead to two scores.
The Tigers (0-1) fell to Pflugerville Hendrickson, 21-7, in their season opener.
THS receiver Kobe Webster hauled in a 34-yard TD from Rian Cellars, who finished 16-of-28 passing for 179 yards. Tailback Tracy Cooper rushed 23 times for 133 yards in the game, and safety Caleb Arnold had a pair of interceptions on defense.
"We watched them play Liberty-Eylau, and they're a really talented Arkansas team," Texas High head coach Gerry Stanford said. "They're a young team, a lot like we are. It's a big rivalry game, and it's going to be a great atmosphere to go play in; we're excited to go play. We need to settle in early, take the emotion out of the game and calm the kids down to go play football.
"Defensively, we've got to play with a high intensity and effort, like we did the other night. We have to be able to contain their quarterback; he's a special talent. And they've got a really good running back to go with him. Offensively, we've got to be able to sustain against their defensive line, which has really good size, and their linebackers really move well."
Texas High owns a 64-32-7 lead in the series, including winning last year's meeting, 43-35. Arkansas High won the 2016 game, 7-0, in Stanford's first year with the Tigers, as well as Norton's first with AHS after 18 years in the same post at Texas High.
The game will be blogged live at www.texarkanagazette.com/rivalry, and the radio broadcasts will be on KTXK 91.5 FM and 1400 AM.