But a summer scrimmage with nothing on the line retained the aura of a county rivalry.
“We played them in a 7-on-7 at Purdue and there was a lot of talking going on,” Red Devils junior receiver Kyle Turner said. “There was a lot of aggression between the two teams, and it would be fun to play a county rival like that.”
Next season, it will count. McCutcheon and West Lafayette came to a verbal agreement earlier this week for a two-year home-and-home football arrangement for the second week of the season.
The teams will play at McCutcheon’s Ellison Stadium next season. McCutcheon leads the series 14-11 and had won six straight when the rivalry was interrupted nine years ago.
“That’ll be exciting, especially playing a great team like West Lafayette,” McCutcheon junior quarterback Jami Frier said. “It would be great to see how we match up, because we’re in different (enrollment classes).”
McCutcheon and West Lafayette did not play from 1998 through 2002, then played a two-game series in 2003-04. The Mavericks’ Hoosier Crossroads Conference schedule then made nonconference games impossible.
The North Central Conference, which Harrison, Lafayette Jeff and McCutcheon join next fall, will play non-conference games in the first two weeks.
West Lafayette’s enrollment (listed at 721 by the IHSAA for this classification period) is less than half of McCutcheon’s (1809). Yet West Side is a compelling opponent for the Mavericks due to its recent success, including the 2009 Class 3A state championship.
McCutcheon has not had a winning season since 2002 while playing in the strong HCC, but is 2-1 for the first time since that season and ranked No. 9 in Class 5A.
Additionally, the schools would save on travel costs and potentially benefit financially from large local crowds.
“We went to Lafayette Jeff last week, and what a great atmosphere to be involved in for a kid,” McCutcheon coach Ken Frauhiger said. “That’s what this is going to bring back.”