River City Rivalry continues Morgan County tradition with extra precautions

The rivalry has spanned more than 50 games and continued, with added safety measures, on Thursday.

Posted: Aug 28, 2020 7:52 AM
Updated: Jul 25, 2021 3:50 PM

Thursday at Austin Stadium, the Black Bears defeated Decatur 67-3 in the River City Rivalry -- a Morgan County tradition that dates back decades.

“It is really important to our community and the people,” Watt Parker, Decatur City Schools’ athletic director, said. “To not have this would be crazy.”

Austin and Decatur face off in the River City Rivalry on Thursday. Austin would go on to win 67-3.

With a rivalry like this one, which has spanned more than 50 games, the district felt it was important to play and took precautions to make sure they could.

Outside the stadium, there were separate entrances for each team and masks were required for entry.

Once inside, fans had to stay on the side of the stadium that they entered and were asked to keep their distance in the stands.

Parker told me the district limited capacity and planned to have less than 2,000 people attend and took extra steps to space those who did come.

“We’ve arranged a couple of special areas, standing room only areas, in case we have coaches and coaching passes that are gonna come up,” he said.

“We made some special arrangements for our faculty and their families to sit in a different area that would not take up seating from our fans. So we’re gonna be in that sub-2,000 range.”

Parker said they were disappointed that they couldn’t have the fully packed bleachers for the game as they had in years past, but were just excited to be able to play.

“Our kids are getting to participate, our band is getting to perform, our community is getting to have this event and we’re just excited that we can be a part of it,” Parker said.

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