Top 10 High School Rivalries in South Central Kentucky

By: Jeff Woods
By: Jeff Woods

Jeff breaks down the best local rivalries in high school sports.

What makes a good rivalry? The best part about that question is there isn’t just one answer. In fact, it’s really open to interpretation. But for the sake of this forum, I’ll define what I think makes a good rivalry.


-Strong show of support from both fan bases

-And that support from the fans is filled with passion. You never want to see a fight break out, but let’s be honest, it is that passion for YOUR team and the disdain for the OTHER team that makes a rivalry…a rivalry

-When the teams play, it’s NOT just another game, despite what coaches may say

-The stakes are high whether it is for a district/region title or just bragging rights

-The teams play often, at least once a year

-The teams are in close proximity, although this is not a requirement

-The games/matches are played at a high level

-The series is not one-sided. Games are typically competitive and the outcome is usually in doubt before and during the game



Following these guidelines, I have ranked the top ten high school rivalries in south central Kentucky.


Before I reveal the rankings, a disclaimer. The opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect the opinion of WBKO as a whole. These rankings are my opinion and my opinion alone. Basically, if you disagree with anything that’s written here, be upset with me and not WBKO. In reality, this is nothing more than a fun discussion and a means for light-hearted debate.


First, some honorable mentions. These are good rivalries, but they just missed the cut.


Franklin-Simpson vs. Bowling Green (football) – At one time, this would have made the top five. But it’s hard to include this one in my top ten when they currently do not play each other.


Butler County vs. EdmonsonCounty – Another good one, but EdmonsonCounty has a much more intense rivalry with another school. When the Bears and Wildcats meet on the football field, it is typically a fun game to watch.


Warren East vs. Franklin-Simpson (football) – This rivalry is relatively new, especially since the KHSAA went to six classes in football. It is a district game and both teams have had their shares of wins against the other.


Warren Central vs. Greenwood – The Dragons and Gators are fierce district opponents in every sport. Greenwood has a clear edge in sports like volleyball, soccer, and softball, while Central has the bragging rights in football and boys basketball.



-Logan County vs. Greenwood (volleyball)

-Warren East vs. Bowling Green (baseball)

-Allen County-Scottsville vs. Franklin-Simpson (football)

-Ohio County vs. Muhlenberg County (girls basketball)

-Clinton County vs. Russell County (boys basketball)

-Adair County vs. Russell County



Now without further ado, the Top 10 High School Rivalries in south central Kentucky:


Included below are responses from several of those who provided feedback in the past couple of weeks via Facebook, Twitter, or e-mail.


10. Greenwood vs. South Warren – Obviously this rivalry is very new. But it did not take long for the rivalry to gain some steam. This one started the day construction began on SouthWarrenHigh School. Several athletes who played at Greenwood wound up at South Warren to finish their high school careers. So when the Gators and Spartans go at it, it’s not uncommon to see former teammates on the other side. That aspect will eventually go away, but it serves as a good launching pad for a brand new rivalry.


9. Monroe County vs. Glasgow (girls basketball) – The Lady Falcons and Lady Scotties have been district foes for some time now, but only recently has the rivalry really picked up. They’ve represented the 15th District in the 4th Region Tournament the past three years and they were the top two teams in the region last season. MonroeCounty and Glasgow have met nine times the past two seasons, including five times in 2011-12. They clashed twice in the regular season, once for the district title, once for the 4th Region All “A” title, and the 4th Region title. Glasgow won the season series 3-2. Expect this emerging rivalry to continue.


8. Franklin-Simpson vs. Russellville (football/boys basketball) – The Wildcats and Panthers are traditionally two of the top programs in the area in both football and boys basketball. Despite playing in different classes, Franklin and Russellville meet on the football field every year. And more often than not, it is a competitive game. The intensity level does not quite equal that of Russellville-LoganCounty, but the quality of play is usually high. On the basketball court, the Wildcats and Panthers have battled it out for the 13th District title eight of the last nine years.


7. HartCounty vs. Caverna – We have our first example of cross-town rivals. The schools are on the same street just minutes apart and they are the only schools in the county. In football, the Colonels have not recorded a win over the Raiders since 2006, but several games in the past six years have been tight. On the basketball court, HartCounty has the upper hand in girls’ hoops, but it is pretty even on the boys’ side.


Comment from Glenn Pence: “Definitely Hart Co. and Caverna...With Caverna actually located IN Hart Co, it makes the rivalry even stronger...It's also been passed down for generations...A lot of heart on both sides of the ball at those games...”


6. Bowling Green vs. Greenwood (soccer) Bowling Green and Greenwood make for a good rivalry in just about any sport. But when it comes to soccer, the rivalry soars to a whole new level. The Purples and Gators dominate the 4th Region in soccer. They are clearly the cream of the crop in south central Kentucky and their battles are intense. Year in and year out, Bowling Green and Greenwood are playing each other for the region title. Athletes from both schools have told me they are friends with a lot of the players from the other team, except when they meet on the pitch. The fans for both schools are typically pretty rowdy too.


5. Greenwood vs. Allen County-Scottsville (softball) – This is a rivalry that only pertains to softball, but it is a dandy. Greenwood and ACS are the only two programs to win the 4th Region title since 2002 and they have faced one another in the 4th Region Tournament in nine of the past ten years. Oh yeah, the programs have also won a combined three state championships in the past six years. As someone who has watched the Lady Gators and Lady Patriots play on multiple occasions, you just get the vibe they REALLY want to beat each other. Although it does not hurt that a trip to state is usually on the line.


4. Grayson County vs. Edmonson County – I think this is most unheralded rivalry in the area. It may also be the fiercest. There is no love lost between these two: the players, fans, cheerleaders, etc. They just do not like each other. Their annual meeting in football is known as the Tobacco Bowl. They play for a tobacco stick. How cool is that?


Comment from Jordan Turner – GraysonCounty vs. EdmonsonCounty may be one of the best (rivalries) in the state because there is always a little bit of a chip on every player’s shoulder just because they know who the other team is.”


Tabitha Lynn Conley added – “On those game days you can rob the counties blind because everyone is at the game.”


The only reason Cougars vs. Wildcats is not ranked higher is because the schools do not reside in the same county, which leads me to…


3. Logan County vs. Russellville – A rivalry also known as the “Clash of the Cats”.  Much like HartCounty and Caverna, the high schools are just minutes apart, three miles to be exact. It is the county school vs. the city school. You do see some blowouts from time to time, but games are generally competitive. The series in boys’ basketball this season was especially intense. The crowds for those three games were some of the best the WBKO sports department witnessed all year. The rivalry on the gridiron has picked up again, as the Cougars beat the Panthers last fall for the first time since 2004.


Comment from Norma Pillow Kutzman – “If there is one thing the Russellville Panthers and the LoganCounty Cougars agree on is that they have the best rivalries. This all started when LCHS was established. City vs. CountyKids. You could be friends with people from the other school and even date them but one thing is FOR SURE when came to the sports you were for YOUR school. I've even seen players and students cry over the losses. Always a BIG Upset.”


Mindy Hendrix added – “CLASH OF THE CATS! LoganCounty Cougars and Russellville Panthers. If you missed it, you missed out.”


2. Bowling Green vs. Warren Central – Of all the rivalries in south central Kentucky, this one is probably played at the highest level.  The Purples and Dragons have battled it out for the 4th Region title in boys’ basketball the past three years. The rivalry in football is back after the Dragons beat the Purples in back to back years in 2009 and 2010. Last year’s regular season meeting was possibly the biggest regular season football game the area had seen in years. And the fans raise the rivalry to another level. The crowds for BG-Central during the days of Chane Behanan and George Fant were staggering.


Comment from Amanda Miller - “Warren Central and BGHS...who else has a caravan to the other school to egg them on the day of the game??? (If they even still do that...there was talk of it being banned after I graduated years ago!)”


The only thing keeping this from being No. 1 is the other schools in WarrenCounty. I think some of the best rivalries are created when there are just two teams in a county and the other school is the unquestioned rival. No ifs, ands, or buts.


And with that, the top high school rivalry in south central Kentucky is…


1. Barren County vs. Glasgow – This one has it all. The classic city vs. county dynamic. They are the only schools in town. Great fan bases. Competitive games with high stakes. Everyone in town has a vested interest.


Comment from Morgan Anderson – “Whole town shuts down for those games!”


The competition between BarrenCounty and Glasgow really sets this rivalry apart from the rest. Nearly every game in every sport produces a compelling game. Football can sometimes be one-sided in the Scotties’ favor, but it is not as bad as you may think. The Trojans have two wins over the Scotties on the football field in the past six years. Other sports like basketball, baseball, softball, and soccer offer entertaining and competitive games nearly without fail. And the community rallies around that, and then some.


Comment from Julie Ann – With there being only two schools and school systems here, this rivalry is huge! There are deep rooted traditions at both schools and pride in both schools that makes this rivalry massive and serious in all areas: sports, band, academics (as in who has the most dual credit and AP courses), beta, etc.”


Barren County-Glasgow is a fun rivalry, but make no mistake; the ferocity of this rivalry ranks right with the best of them.


Comment from Michael Anthony Kinslow“The windows to the team bus for Barren got shot out on the way back to the school after a game in the 70's. You can still feel that kind of tension during games.”


So there you have it. The Top 10 High School Rivalries in south central Kentucky. Let the debate begin.




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