Buckeye Valley vs. Hayes: Friends for 364 days, rivals for one

Football Friday Nite

DELAWARE, Ohio (WCMH) — The schools of Buckeye Valley and Delaware Hayes are separated by 4.2 miles. A lot of the schools’ students are family, friends and former classmates.

This Friday, the only thing keeping them apart is the neutral zone.

The center and nose tackle for Buckeye Valley High School, Justin Smothers, has been looking forward to this night for an entire year.

“A lot of us went to St. Mary’s, it’s a private school in Delaware,” Smothers recalled. “Half of us transferred here. Half of us transferred over there.”

The friendship still run deep with his former classmates. 

“We’ve known each other for a long time,” Smothers said. “In the summer we still hang out. We’ll go to the pool, we’ll go fishing.”

This past Monday, the BVHS football team held a fundraiser at a local restaurant. Then Hayes’ QB, Blake Eiland, walked in the door.

Smothers asked Eiland to say his order was for Buckeye Valley and he did.

“So I do it to support their team,” Eiland said with a grin. “Then beat them on Friday.” 

There is no question these young men respect and care for each other. Maybe that’s what makes this rivalry so special to the community.

“You support each other–help each other out,” explained Hayes Head Football Coach Scott Wetzel. “I hope Buckeye Valley win nine other games this year. It’s just that one game we have to get after them.”

“When seven o’clock hits, we’re no longer friends,” Smothers laughed with a smirk.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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