The year’s rivalry meeting between the Lewisville Lions and Great Falls Red Devils might be just as intense, but it will be a little different.
Lewisville is 2-0, while Great Falls is 1-1.
This year’ the teams and schools are competing on the gridiron, and in raising money for the Sanfilippo Foundation.
Sanfilippo is a genetic disorder much like Alzheimer’s Disease, but affects children and is something Great Falls head coach Tom Butler’s daughter, Paisleigh, is fighting. The schools are gathering loose change and competing to see who can raise the most money. The fundraising ends at the game -- held at Great Falls this year.
When it comes to x’s and o’s, Lewisville coach Will Mitchell said he has nothing but respect for Great Falls.
“They are a good team,” Mitchell said. “They were very improved last year. The rivalry between the two schools in my eight years has been very back and forth. There is an intensity to it. It doesn’t get nasty, but it toes the line a little bit. It is probably about as healthy a rivalry as you can have. The kids know each other. When we were in the region together, it was a bigger deal.”
Mitchell said he has noticed that the Red Devils have put points on the board so far this season. The Lions are undefeated and averaging about 47 points. Great Falls is averaging 34 points in their two games.
“They are big and aggressive up front,” Mitchell said. “We will be outsized on both sides of the ball and that is something we have to deal with.”
Mitchell said he told his staff and players that no matter who is playing or how the teams are doing, that he expects the best out of Great Falls.
“We will see the best effort from the athletes they got,” he said. “We are going to get the best they have.”
Butler is in his first year at coach at Great Falls. He said he knows all about the rivalry.
“I know there is no love lost,” he said.
The game plan for Great Falls is no surprise. Butler said he has been trying to establish the Red Devils run.
“On offense we are trying to run the football,” he said. “That is something we haven’t been too successful at the first two weeks, but we are going to keep trying to run the ball and get better at it.”
Butler said he knows how much this game means to the Red Devil community.
“The people in the community want us to win this game more than any other,” he said. “I have been told I can go 1-9 as long as this is the one win. There maybe a little bit more pressure, but with the fundraiser it has taken the pressure off a little bit.”
Butler said he appreciates the two communities coming together to support the Sanfilippo Foundation.
“When I got the job (Lewisville head coach) Will (Mitchell) was one of the first people to call and congratulate me,” he said. “We talked and I asked about doing a fundraiser for my daughter and we worked together to come up with this and hopefully it is something we do for a long time.”