There is a big football game coming Friday night.
The Barron Collier High School Cougars host the Naples High School Golden Eagles.
There is added anticipation this year because Naples High already has one loss in district competition and needs to win to stay in the chase to qualify for the postseason. Barron Collier, on the other hand, is undefeated so far and wants to stay that way through the regular season and beyond.
The history of games starting in 1978 between the two schools has its ups and downs. One team, then the other, will dominate. The balance got so far off that the games were canceled for two years in the 1990s.
Tradition is the buzz word in more ways than one. Naples is the traditional anchor high school of Collier County, while Barron Collier is a beacon of new growth as the frontier of “Naples” reached to the north and east.
Still, sports transcend growth. As big as our county has become, about 330,000 people today, nearly three times our size when the 28-game series started, the community still sits up and takes notice of a high-school football game. The community even takes part in a name-that-game contest.
Best of luck to both teams. May their bands blare and fans cheer with the volume and spirit to which we have become accustomed.
Our sense of community is alive and well when we can turn a football game into something much more — a community event.