Battle of the Ax builds community spirit

2014 Battle of the Ax
By  | 

DENISON, Texas -- The rivalry game started in 1901, and most people in Sherman and Denison today will tell you this is the *biggest football game of the year.

I spoke to school and city officials in Sherman and Denison who tell me this rivalry has evolved over the years, and created a community bond both on and off the field.

"There's just something about it when you turn on the lights on Friday night and the two communities get to battle it out one time on the football field," Denison Mayor Jared Johnson said. "It's a fun, high-energy evening."

The rivalry game between Sherman and Denison is the longest continuous rivalry in Texas. Except for a few times, the game has been played every year since 1901.

In 1949, Denison businessman Jack Barker came up with the idea of the championship ax to symbolize good sportsmanship between both teams...and give the winner bragging rights for a year.

It's pride," Denison Superintendent Henry Scott said. "it's a big deal. In fact, most people and some of the older people in Denison...will have never won a game, but we beat Sherman one time, most of them will be satisfied.

Said Sherman Mayor Cary Wacker: "It's just a great night for our whole community to rally around our team and our pride in Sherman, our Bearcats."

Both teams will be battling it out on the field for this axe which has all the years and the score the game has been played engraved on both of the blades. And although the trophy means a lot to both communities, it's the bond the rivalry has created that means much more.

While they may be competitors on the field," Wacker said, "the bottom line is we want everyone in our region to be doing well"

Added Johnson, "The rivalry has been able to do a lot of philanthropic things in our region, canned food drives and fundraisers and initiatives of which both communities can be part."

The ax has gone back and forth between the two schools. Sherman still leads the series with 68 wins versus Denison's 37.