OGDEN — Before Thursday’s football clash at Stewart Stadium, before Ogden and Ben Lomond take the field, they sat down and had an amicable dinner.
Blue and red clashed with orange and black — that is, until everyone donned white shirts and took a picture on the stage. And then came the dueling chants, one for Ben Lomond, one for Ogden.
Yep, the Iron Horse game is here.
To kick off the week of Ogden (5-3, 2-2 Region 11) and Ben Lomond’s (0-8, 0-4) highly anticipated annual matchup, Ben Lomond High hosted both teams and cheerleaders for dinner Monday night at BLHS.
The idea came about in a meeting discussing the logistics of this year’s game. Both school’s athletic directors — Shawn MacQueen at Ogden and Jeff Kilts at Ben Lomond — talked about one thing that never quite took off that they tried in years past: a barbecue the night before the game.
“I think thats’s a good, healthy thing that’s happening with this rivalry,” Ogden head coach Erik Thompson said.
Monday’s dinner was basically that same thing, a small get together with some food and a speech made by former Ogden High coach Dave Brown, who coached at OHS a total of 37 years and whose kids went to Ben Lomond.
Brown coached in many games in the Iron Horse’s storied history. In essence, he was a perfect candidate to help bridge the 2.5-mile gap between the two schools on Harrison Boulevard.
“You’ll remember every one of your Iron Horse games for the rest of your life,” Brown told the audience.
There have been 65 all-time meetings in the Iron Horse (69 all-time meetings between the two schools if you count playoff matchups). Ogden leads the Iron Horse series 46-19 and 47-22 all-time.
Still fresh is last year’s double-overtime, 20-14 win for the Tigers that broke a three-year winning run by the Scots. But no matter what year or how good one team is, one can always throw the record books out for the Iron Horse.
“You can see it in everyone’s eyes and positive attitude and mentality throughout this week ... it’s more intense this week,” Ben Lomond quarterback Nykolas Guzman said.
It’s been a while since a team playing in the Iron Horse has playoff aspirations, but that’s where Ogden finds itself this year on the back of a hot start, an explosive offense and two close region wins.
A win would guarantee the Tigers the No. 3 seed out of Region 11, meaning they would avoid the fourth seed and a first-round matchup with Orem, the overwhelming favorite for the 4A state title.
Ben Lomond has been close to winning a couple times this year, none closer than last week’s heartbreaker against Stansbury, the top team in the region. The Scots led 28-21 in the fourth quarter only for the Stallions to charge back and win 35-28.
“It hurt us on Friday to lose like that, to lose such a close game,” Guzman said.
It was their best offensive performance of the season, but Guzman said it’s given Ben Lomond a little jolt and extra fire heading into Thursday’s rivalry. The Scots have already been knocked out of playoff contention, but that doesn’t mean there’s less motivation this week.
The rivalry is unique in the way that both sets of players grow up playing on the same little league teams and then, once they reach high school, they’re on separate teams. It’s normal for many players on both teams to be friends with each other.
“You never want to lose to your brother in anything, that probably brings out as much passion and fire as anything does. But I think there’s a healthy respect and care for each other that these kids have for each other,” Thompson said.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Ogden: Bo DeVries, QB; Rhyle Hanson, RB; Chase Butler, RB/LB; Irving Gastelum, WR/DB; Logan Shobe, LB
Ben Lomond: Nykolas Guzman, QB/DB; Zander Caffall, RB/LB; Tre’ Pearson, WR/DB; Giovanni Martinez, LB/K; Ty Esquivel, WR/DB
IRON HORSE GAME
Game time: This year’s game starts at 7:30 p.m. instead of the normal 7 p.m.
Live stream: If you can’t make it to the game, the Standard-Examiner will be live-streaming the game starting with a pregame show at 7:20 p.m. on our website, www.standard.net.
Parking and entrance information: Stewart Stadium at Weber State is undergoing a big construction project this year, so a lot of parking normally available on the north side of the stadium isn’t available this year.
Ogden fans will sit on the west side of the stadium this year (the grandstand with the press box) and enter through the southwest gate. Ben Lomond fans will sit on the east side of the stadium and enter through the northeast gate.
Ticket prices: Tickets are $2 for Ben Lomond and Ogden students who show valid student identification (only one ticker per student ID). They’re $4 for students who don’t have a BLHS or OHS student ID, $5 for adults and free for those 65 years and older.
A $20 family pass is available, good for up to six people from the same household. Family passes will only be available at the game.
Security: Weber State University will conduct bag searches. No outside food or drink is allowed and there’s no re-entry to the stadium.