NORTH BEND — The name Civil War has been attached to the sports competitions between North Bend and Marshfield for a couple of generations.
And while the battle on the field might be fierce Friday night when they meet at Vic Adams Field in North Bend in the football season opener for both teams, the term was entirely fitting when the booster clubs for the two schools met Wednesday.
The coaches and athletic directors heaped praise on each other for their programs and their close friendships.
North Bend coach Gary Prince and Marshfield coach John Lemmons have known each other since their days at Southern Oregon University and remain close, bouncing ideas off each other during the season and the offseason.
“It’s just a good relationship for us,” Prince said.
“Gary is a good friend,” Lemmons said. “When it’s not this game, I’m always rooting for you.”
North Bend athletic director Mike Forrester pointed out that while it’s good to have coaches who know how to win, the head coaches in this rivalry go beyond that.
“Gary and John are class guys,” Forrester said. “The thing to me that is so important is to have somebody with good character. Both our schools have that.”
The coaches briefly discussed their teams.
Lemmons said he thinks the Bulldogs “have a chance to do something special this season.”
The Marshfield coach added that he is excited about his own squad.
“I feel good about our team,” Lemmons said. “We are young. The kids that are out are giving us great effort. We’re really pleased about that.”
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Prince expressed strong respect for the Pirates, both their tradition and what he saw on film from their jamboree last week.
“Marshfield has been very good,” he said. “They have a strong, punishing run game and a quick, efficient pass game. As far as their defense goes, they are quick to find the football.”
As for his team, Prince said he is proud of the group of seniors he brought to the meeting.
“All of these young men have been with me for four years,” he said. “The reality is we’ve been watching them since third or fourth grade.
“I really appreciate the opportunity to grow with them and I’m looking forward to seeing their accomplishments (in life).”
“Both sets of these athletes have been preparing for a long time,” Prince said, referring to offseason workouts that stretch back to the end of last season. “It’s a lot of hard work.
“Hopefully Friday night we will see what has been produced from that sweat and that effort and we see a great football game.”
Given a chance to say a few words, the players did just that, with each member present for both teams uttering a sentence or so, generally mentioning excitement for their own teams and anticipation of the game.
On Friday night, they will let their play do the talking.
The gates open at 5:45 p.m. at Vic Adams Field. Admission is $6 for adults and $4 for regular students. North Bend High School students get in for free with their student body cards, while Marshfield students pay $1.
Now that the school year has started, both the Marshfield and North Bend booster clubs will be on their regular schedule, with meetings on Wednesdays at noon, Marshfield at Abby’s Pizza and North Bend at the Hall of Champions.