The last time Wauwatosa East played Wauwatosa West in a football game, current Red Raiders coach Jake Wolter was a star quarterback.
It was 1996.
Back then, Tosa East had about a 1,400 enrollment to Tosa West's 800, and the difference started showing up on the football field.
The games weren't competitive, and the Red Raiders stopped playing the game because they had nothing to gain. They were supposed to win the game.
Say what you want, but if one team wins all the time, there really is no rivalry.
But things are changing. Mark your calendar for 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 20 at Hart Park. For the first since in 15 years, these teams will meet on the football field again. And that's a good thing.
The Trojans have had one winning season in the last six years. The Red Raiders have had one in the last five and have a current 20-game losing streak going.
Not only the teams and the schools, but the community as well needed this to happen. Both football coaches also approve.
"No. 1, it is extremely important for bonding the community," Tosa West coach Matt Good said. "It will bridge some gaps, get everything kicked off in Wauwatosa the right way.
"There has been a change in attitude and enrollment. Jake and I have a great relationship. We coached together at Tosa East. We started talking and said, 'Let's play in a parking lot if we have to.' "
Wolter explained that several parties wanted to get this done as much as the two coaches.
"Matt and I have discussed this in past," Wolter said. "We were talking about it this summer. Both of us want to play. The community, the administration, the athletic directors, even the superintendent wants it."
"Our perspective is unique," said Phil Ertl, superintendent of the Wauwatosa School District and head coach of the Jr. Trojans' fifth-grade team.
"We have two high schools in separate conferences. Having East-West play is good for the community, good competition. The kids have a lot to gain by doing it, and with Hart Park and Tosa West Stadium being upgraded, the time is right."
The game has been a hot topic for the two schools. Both John Robbe of the Jr. Raiders and Don Soderberg of the Jr. Trojans are excited about the game.
"Both teams are rebuilding, but there is talent coming up," Robbe said. "We're hoping to get a lot of people there. Maybe 3,000. Make it an all-day affair."
"It's a good thing for Tosa," Soderberg added. "It is so much fun to come to those kind of games. Just look at basketball and soccer, for example."
East principal Nick Hughes knows people love the East-West connection.
"If we'd play checkers, people would line up to watch it," he said. "I'm looking forward to seeing it."
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