ELLIS COUNTY, Texas (CBS11 SPORTS) – It’s THE rivalry of Ellis County. Ennis and Waxahachie.
“It’s always been the biggest rival – battle of the 287,” admits Ennis quarterback Dyllan Santos.
Waxahachie safety Demani Richardson agrees. “It’s very fun competing against Ennis.”
“There’s a lot of people that have grown up in Ellis County,” Ennis Coach Sam Harrell told CBS 11 Sports. “They like having those bragging rights, so it’s big to that group.”
This year, it’s not only about bragging rights, it also marks the return of Harrell as the Ennis head coach.
“I have a high regard for Sam Harrell, and glad to see him back.” said Waxahachie Coach Todd Alexander.
Harrell led the Lions to 3 state titles between 1994 to 2009. He had to retire from coaching in 2010, due to his battle with multiple sclerosis.
Emotions will be running high for Harrell’s first game back on Friday for many reasons.
“It’s against probably Ennis’ biggest rival, Waxahachie.” said Harrell. “And, the fact that my oldest son, who’s an outstanding coach, he coaches over there at Waxahachie.”
“Yeah, our offensive coordinator is Sam Harrell’s son, so that puts a little twist to that first game” Alexander agreed.
For Sam’s son, Zac Harrell, who is the Waxahachie offensive coordinator, the family bond is strong, but not on game night. “That first week, I’m going to try to get after him. But, I’m going to root for him every week after that.”
Who to root for will be a difficult decision in the Harrell household. That includes North Texas Offensive Coordinator Graham Harrell, who won a State Title at Ennis while playing for his dad in 2001.
“That’s going to be a tough situation for more than anyone, it’s going to be tough for my mom.” Graham admitted. “You know, my dad and my brother are competitive, they are going to want to beat each other.”
“Yeah, you may get bragging rights for the year, and we may throw in a couple of jabs, that week,” said Zac Harrell.
Sam Harrell added, “I have to admit – I used to be more a smack talker when I was younger – now Zack’s that age. Hopefully that night, we’ll both be alright.”