Football: Town Jug game moving back under the lights
By Erik Jacobsen firstname.lastname@example.org July 10, 2012 5:58PM
Larkin players celebrate with the Town Jug after defeating rival Elgin High last September. The annual Town Jug game will be played on a Friday night for the first time in a decade this season. | Andrew A. Nelles~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 14, 2012 10:36PM
Local football fans should make note of a few changes to the area high school schedule for the 2012 season, most notably one that affects the annual Town Jug game between Elgin and Larkin at Memorial Field.
Not only is the Week 3 matchup between the Maroons and Royals on Sept. 7 taking place earlier in the season than usual, but for the first time in a decade the crosstown rivals will square off under the lights on a Friday night.
The last time the Town Jug game was played on a Friday night was Sept. 13, 2002, and that contest was overshadowed by an incident that took place near the south end zone at Memorial Field. A large group of people refused to move when asked by police, and though no arrests were made, the mass of people involved was enough to take fans’ attention away from the game.
When the 2003 season rolled around, the decision was made to move the Town Jug game to Saturday afternoon for safety reasons. The contest remained a Saturday matinee for 10 years until current Elgin athletic director Paul Pennington and current Larkin athletic director Chris Neibch recently decided to move the game back to Friday night, which is when high school football typically takes center stage.
“We’re going to as prepared as we can be,” Neibch said. “Obviously I wasn’t around and Paul wasn’t around when the situation happened (in 2002).
“It’s high school football and it’s nice to have it on a Friday evening. We’ve got good student bodies at both schools and I don’t think we’ll have any issues.”
Larkin pulled off a thrilling 22-21 victory against Elgin last season, and the Royals own a 31-19 lead in the all-time varsity series between the rivals.
The Town Jug game won’t be the only rivalry game played Sept. 7. St. Charles East travels across the Fox River that night to exchange pleasantries with St. Charles North as the North Stars will be trying to snap a streak of four straight losses against the Saints.
Other rivalry games of note include the nonconference showdown between Burlington Central and Hampshire, which for the second straight year will be played Week 1 at Hampshire. The Rockets have won two in a row in the series going into the Aug. 24 kickoff.
Playoff positioning could be on the line when South Elgin travels to play rival Bartlett on Oct. 12 for a Week 8 showdown. The Hawks own a 3-1 lead in the all-time series, including last year’s 45-10 thumping of the Storm.
One of the most one-sided rivalries in recent years has been between District 300 foes Jacobs and Dundee-Crown. The Golden Eagles will close out the regular season with a trip to play the Chargers in Week 9 on Oct. 19. Jacobs has won nine in a row against D-C, which enters the 2012 campaign riding a 26-game overall losing streak.
While the majority of the area’s teams play mostly the same schedule as last year, one exception is St. Edward. As part of the restructuring of the Suburban Christian schedule, the Green Wave will play only three league games against fellow SCC Blue Division opponents. Meanwhile, it will play four league crossover games against teams from the SCC Gold in addition to a Week 2 nonconference clash against Aurora Christian, which like St. Edward is in the SCC Blue.
Bartlett will be able to measure up against most of its District U46 rivals. In addition to its Upstate Eight Valley clash with South Elgin, the Hawks will play Elgin in a Week 2 nonconference game for the second straight year. Bartlett will also play Larkin for the first time since 2008 when the teams collide for a UEC crossover in Week 7 on Oct. 5 at Memorial Field.