A showdown 25 years in the making will come about Friday, Sept. 20, when the St. Charles Preparatory School football team travels to Hartley.
The teams last played in 1988 when Hartley was the home team in a homecoming game at Walnut Ridge. The Hawks won 17-7 with coach Dick Geyer on the sideline.
"Last time this game was played, I was in the eighth grade," Hartley coach Brad Burchfield said. "It's going to be exciting. ... It's a highly anticipated game."
It's a non-league game since Hartley plays in the CCL-Gold Division and St. Charles is in the CCL-Silver.
That was the case in 1988 when the schools played in opposite divisions of the Ohio Catholic League.
"I was 20 years old and I was coach at St. James," St. Charles coach Jeff Pharion said. "My defensive coordinator (this year), Bill Schmitz, was the center on that team. It's a game we've been looking forward to playing."
Both teams enter the game at 2-1 and coming off victories.
The Cardinals scored 34 points in the first quarter and won 34-0 over Big Walnut on Sept. 13 in a game played at Ohio Dominican University. The game was moved after a railing collapsed in the St. Charles home stands Sept. 6 during a 48-8 win over Eastmoor Academy.
"I have never been a part of a quarter like that in football at any level," Pharion said. "We clicked offensively, defensively and on special teams. It was fun to be a part of something like that."
The Cardinals played without senior quarterback Ryan Bailey, who Pharion said is "day-to-day nursing a sprained knee." Bailey has rushed for 181 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries and has completed 14 of 26 passes for 132 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.
His replacement, sophomore Jacob Moehrman, was 9-for-17 passing for 173 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions against Big Walnut. He also ran for 38 yards on seven carries.
Sophomore running back Jacob Nowell rushed for 88 yards on 24 carries and junior NiQuille Bell, who lines up at wide receiver and in the backfield, had five catches for 119 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 37 yards on three attempts.
Senior running back John Quinn had a 2-yard rushing touchdown against Big Walnut, and senior linebacker Andy Deak and senior defensive back Ben Hale recovered blocked punts for scores.
"(The Cardinals) are very good with a lot of good, experienced players," Burchfield said. "They have a good scheme with some good backs and a big offensive line working up in front of them."
The Hawks defeated Marion-Franklin 28-14 on Sept. 13 after losing to defending Division V state champion Coldwater 41-16 on Sept. 6.
"When we lose a game, we have to be able to regroup, especially with the schedule we play," Burchfield said.
"We play heavyweights week in and week out and we have to be able to bounce back."
Senior running back Sam Mackowiak leads the Hawks with 412 yards rushing and three touchdowns on 84 carries. Senior quarterback Jared Brandewie has run for 178 yards and three scores on 31 carries and is 23 of 31 passing for 456 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions.
Senior wide receiver Jacob Mercier has 14 receptions for 355 yards and three scores. Mercier has one interception at defensive back, as does sophomore linebacker Quri Hickman.
"We know they are a very good team that can get off the ball and run it efficiently," Pharion said.
"They also have a good, experienced quarterback to run the show. They are an impressive football team."