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TJ, Frederick battle for city bragging rights

November 05, 1998|By MIKE WOLFF

Thomas Johnson coach Ben Wright says his team will be prepared the same way for its annual game against Frederick as it does for all its other games during the season.

But this game is not just any other game.

The intracity rivalry has existed for more than 30 years and the intensity level is unmatched by any of the team's nine previous games.

This game is different. The Frederick and TJ players grew up together, they are next door neighbors and many of them are friends.

That will temporarily end Saturday.

"It doesn't really matter what the records are for the two teams," Wright said. "It's like a one-game season. It's the only game our school makes a really big deal out of during the season."

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Frederick coach Vince Ahearn compares the game to the highly intense Army-Navy game.

"If both teams are 0-9, for whoever wins the game, it's like winning the national championship," Ahearn said.

Motivation is not a problem for either coach, but with all the hoopla surrounding the game, both coaches hope their players focus on football.

Frederick (0-9) has a full week of events scheduled. Students are invited to dress up to display their school spirit with themes such as Pajama Day and Black-and-Gold Day.

TJ will also have a pep rally to get students, faculty and alumni psyched for the their biggest game of the year.

Once all the festivities finish, the focus turns to the football field.

Even though both teams have been disappointing, a win on Saturday would be a positive way to end the season.

"For us to get a win, we would feel good about what we accomplished," Ahearn said. "It would be great for the community and a stepping stone for us heading into next year."

TJ (4-5) has won the last six meetings, outscoring Frederick, 229-84. TJ also leads the series, 20-12.

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