WAXAHACHIE — One season ago, then-state ranked Waxahachie soundly defeated Ennis 50-20 in the 95th rendition of the Battle of 287.
Though both teams are coming off of losses, there will still be close to 10,000 spectators, per usual, on hand for the 80th consecutive meeting between the neighboring rivals dating back to 1939 in what has become one of the most heralded rivalries in the state of Texas.
According to Waxahachie ISD Athletic Operations Director Terry Minton, Ennis leads the all-time series 47-46-2 — despite other reports that claim this year to be the 100th meeting. Minton began researching the rivalry nearly a decade ago, spending countless hours in the library looking at microfilm and online.
The next win for the Waxahachie Indian football program will also be the 600th in its history, as Minton has the team with an overall record of 599-469-36. TexasHighSchoolFootballHistory.com shows the Ennis Lions to have 578 wins all-time.
With a rivalry dating back to the early 1900s, there are, of course, plenty of individuals still in the communities who can recall their time on the gridiron or in the stands during a Battle of 287.
Those like Alex Rendon, who recalled the game in 1987 when Ennis soundly defeated Waxahachie 28-0 (though Christopher Davidson corrected the score to 35-0 after the Lions scored four touchdowns in the fourth quarter).
"Waxahachie Daily Light had a great line when they wrote, ".the only thing the Waxahachie fans had to cheer about was the announcement of baby Jessica McClure being rescued from a well in West Texas," posted Rendon to the Daily Light Facebook page. "Battle for 287 equals Texas football at its finest."
Then there are those like David Jordan who proudly claim the Battle of 287 to be "one of the most intense rivalries in high school sports."
Jordan, WHS Class of 1978 and formerly No. 66 on the Indian football team, states, "If you love football, you know the feeling of a big game. Youngsters everywhere have dreamed of being in a Super Bowl, national or state Championship game. The excitement and intensity, which most believe is a feeling that is unmatched! I beg to differ my friends. All that have been involved in the Battle of 287 carry the feeling of this rivalry to the grave.
"A sense of hometown pride exists and persists with everyone and this rivalry is the epitome of that feeling," Jordan continued. "I had the honor of participating on that field on three occasions. And my friends, it's a complete experience from beginning to end like no other. There is an aroma in the air. Your senses are 1000 times stronger. Your eyes are wide. Your veins are bulging. The sound of the 10,000 plus fans is just a quiet background to the action on the field!"
"You're a warrior," he added. "[...] This is no normal game. For four quarters, this is everything! Respect for the Lions and food luck to my Indians. Gentleman, you're about to be a part of something very, very special."
Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday night at Stuart B. Lumpkins Stadium in Waxahachie.