For every red, white and blue article of clothing worn by fans entering Dow Nelson Stadium last Friday, there was someone wearing blue and black.

For every red, white and blue article of clothing worn by fans entering Dow Nelson Stadium last Friday, there was someone wearing blue and black.

Yet the overriding option for most fans attending the first Wo-Town Showdown between the football teams from Worthington Kilbourne and host Thomas Worthington high schools was rain gear and an umbrella. A steady rain was an overriding presence.

"The weather was a factor crowd-wise keeping some people away," Thomas athletics director Jeff Todd said. "That was a challenge. It was not the crowd we expected because of the weather. But in the school, the kids were excited for the game and you could feel that intensity."

Since Kilbourne opened in 1991, Kilbourne and Thomas eventually had played one another in athletics competition with one exception -- under the lights on a fall Friday. The OCC voted to realign its divisions for the 2008-09 season, its seventh alignment since 1995, and the latest reshuffling placed teams in the same community in the same division. The game between Thomas and Kilbourne became inevitable.

Other communities reluctant to play one another, like Hilliard and Pickerington, had faced off on the football field. Last Friday, it was Worthington's turn.

"This was a different kind of day than anyone experienced," Thomas coach Scott Gordon said. "A lot of people were looking for this game for an awfully long time. It was a tense week and a tense day."

Kilbourne entered the game with a Division I, Region 3 playoff spot secure and the Wolves played like one of the top eight teams in the area, beating Thomas 43-3.

Six of Kilbourne's 10 regular-season opponents finished with at least a .500 record, and although Thomas was not one of those six teams, it didn't diminish the intensity level, according to Kilbourne offensive lineman Brett Shaffer.

"This was just as intense as any game we've had this season," said Shaffer, whose team also played playoff teams Grove City, Hilliard Davidson and Upper Arlington. "This game was intense because this is your neighbor and people you talk to in the community every day. It's a friendly rival and that's all it was and should be."

As with most rivalry games, despite the outcome, the level of intensity on the field throughout the game was high. In fact, Shaffer was so focused on doing his job, he didn't pay much attention to the score.

"I didn't even know what the final score was until after the game," Shaffer said. "They were hitting us. We were hitting them. I felt the game was close the whole time."

Kilbourne has had most of the success on the football field since it opened. Thomas has struggled, for the most part. As last Friday's game dragged on, the deficit grew and fans headed for dry clothes. Some frustration then came out in the form of unsportsmanlike penalties.

"It was a tense week and a tense day and a lot of that showed out on the field," Gordon said. "We let our emotions get the best of us on many different occasions. You've got to maintain your poise in the game of football and we didn't do a very good job of that."

According to Kilbourne coach Vince Trombetti, the "extracurricular activity" helped his player stay focused.

"That helped us keep our intensity going throughout the game and the kids played hard," Trombetti said. "I know coach Gordon does not condone committing those penalties."

Despite the frustration on the field, Thomas ended the game with its senior tackle. As fans and supporters stood on the muddy playing field, Gordon said a few words about each of his 13 seniors.

"Now they've played in all the sports," Todd said.

"The kids are getting more used to it as it continues. If you go to these games in which we play each other, it's one of the best atmosphere they play in all season. It's a good playing environment in all the sports."