North Canton and Jackson Township rotary clubs geared up for this week's big rivalry — the Hoover High versus Jackson High School game — by hosting a pep rally at La Pizzaria in Jackson Township Tuesday.
The rally — which also served as the clubs' joint meeting this week — stands as a yearly tradition to get the rotarians, students and community excited about the longstanding rivalry match.
"The game on Friday night will be the 82nd battle between North Canton Hoover and Jackson," said Brent Fatzinger, president of the North Canton Rotary Club, adding the tradition of playing Jackson as the 10th game in the season was established in 1961.
"Throughout the years there have been lop-sided games, low-scoring wins and everything in between," he said.
And, during the first Hoover-versus-Jackson game in 1931, Hoover won 45-0, Fatzinger said. The overall record is 57-24, Hoover.
Football and cheerleading coaches from both teams, as well as team captains and cheerleaders, attended the rally that day.
Hoover High football coach Don Hertler told the student athletes, "It's a game you'll never forget."
"I know this would just make your season like it makes our season," Hertler said to the Jackson athletes and coaches. "I know we're all fighting for the same thing."