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North vs. Belvidere Football Preview

The Crosstown Challenge trophy will be up for grabs Friday in Belvidere.
Belvidere, Illinois-Belvidere's two football teams won't have to wait long to establish bragging rights for this season. The Blue Thunder and the Bucs will go at it Friday night in week one of the season. It's our Wendy's Game Of The Week.

So get the Crosstown Challenge trophy ready. Alert the Buc mascot and Bolt. The big game in Boone County is only hours away.

"It's a game that's very important to our kids," says North coach Jeff Beck. "It's very important to the community and the school. It's something we take really seriously."

This is a rivalry that can even divide families.

"My dad went to Belvidere," says North quarterback Jace Bankord.

"I have family and friends that used to go to Belvidere," says North receiver Kyle Hartfiel.

This rivalry has played out six times since North High School opened. Belvidere has won four of the six games including the last three matchups. The majority of the games have been close.

"The stadium will be packed to capacity I expect," says Hartfiel. "It's a big rivalry. They're not your friends any more once you step on the field."

The rivalry will have a little different twist this time since both teams have new head coaches. Chuck Leonard leads the Bucs. Jeff Beck leads the Blue Thunder. So neither team is exactly sure what to expect Friday night.

"We have a little bit of an idea what they're going to do," says Leonard. "Like I'm sure they have a bit of an idea what we're going to do. But as far as knowing the ins and outs we're really not sure yet."

"I've heard nothing but good things about coach Leonard says Beck. "I hope this is a good rivalry for years to come."

"They've got a great team, but we feel we will be good too, so we're excited," says Belvidere linebacker Jacob Fondrick.

"We want to win the first game against Belvidere. We'll have new uniforms on. Hopefully we'll get a big win there," says Bankord.

Eyewitness News will broadcast 'live' from Belvidere's Funderburg Stadium Friday at 5pm and 6pm. Catch the highlights Friday at 10pm on the Sports Connection.
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