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PHS-Kewanee rivalry among best in nation

Football fans in Princeton and Kewanee have enjoyed the more than a century-old rivalry between the Tiger and Boilermaker football teams.

The rest of the country is taking notice.

Princeton High School athletic director Jesse Brandt received noticed Thursday from USA TODAY High School Sports the Tiger-Boilermaker rivalry has been selected as one of the top football rivalries for 2013.

Brandt said the nomination is “very nice for PHS,” recognizing what he said has “been a longstanding rivalry.”

“What an honor to be selected, there are so many great rivalries in our state.” Tiger coach Jesse Snyder said.

The Princeton-Kewanee rivalry originated in 1885. It is the fourth oldest rivalry in Illinois. After a three-year absence when Kewanee left the NCIC, the schools renewed the rivalry this year, meeting for the 115th time. With their 36-0 win, the Boilermakers inched closer in the rivalry series, Princeton now clinging to a slim 56-55-4 edge.

The second annual Best High School Football Rivalry competition will begin Nov. 18 with the State round which ends at 12 p.m. ET Nov. 27. Fans may go to http://contest.usatodayhss.com/rivalry to vote.

USA TODAY High School Sports selected five high school football rivalries in each state and Washington, D.C. after more than a month of conversations with local media and other state/school officials with high school football expertise. From there, the fans will decide which rivalry emerges from a list of 255 — more than 100 more rivalries overall than a year ago.

The best rivalry competition will end Dec. 18 after three rounds of voting. The 51 state winners — each state plus D.C. — advance to one of eight regionals. The winners of the eight regions, along with two wild cards, move onto a final round of 10.

The winner receives $5,000 to be split evenly between the two schools, with other cash prizes going to all of the national finalists.

The “Best Of” contest series launched in November, 2012 with the first best high school football rivalry competition, won by Brookfield vs. Marceline in Missouri. The teams celebrated their national title rivalry on Sept. 13 in Brookfield.

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