Since 1923, The Battle of the Piney Woods has been an annual, highly anticipated sports rivalry between our mighty Stephen F Austin State University Lumberjacks, and the Sam Houston State University Bearkats located in Huntsville, Texas.
With a total of 86 meetings, this rivalry is currently the second longest in the Football Championship Subdivision, unfortunately, with the Bearkats leading the series 49-35-2.
On October 6, both Lumberjack and Bearkat fans will travel to Houston, Texas, to cheer on the teams in Reliant Stadium. Both Universities agreed to relocate the game to this stadium in 2009.
Players are not only playing for bragging rights, but also the 21-pound solid cedar trophy that will display the outcomes of the contest for the next two decades.
We sat down with seniors, Josh and Jordan Aubrey, defensive backs for SFA, to get a player’s incite of the game.
We asked if there were special rituals the players preformed as a team or individual players to get ready for the game. “It’s more of mental preparation.” Josh said. “The team usually does an activity together to bond such as a dinner, but overall, just concentrating on being mentally prepared.” The guys differed slightly in individual preparation.
Josh “zones out” eliminating phone calls and all distractions Friday and Saturday, focusing in on the game and praying. Jordan also prays and goes through his own ritual of listening to gospel Friday night and Rap on game day.
This game normally brings in huge crowds, but the players noted that huge crowds bring in huge support and motivation for the team. “We have to beat Sam in everything.” Jordan expressed. “If they have 1000 fans, we need to have 1001.”
We hate to bring up last year’s fall to SHSU, 45 – 10, but we’re in high spirits after hearing the player’s response to how this year’s game would be different.
“I feel like everyone’s more hungry.” Josh and Jordan both said in agreement. “We all just want to prove to everyone that we’re back. From the record to the rankings to the picture at the end of the game celebrating the win, we just want to bring back the winning atmosphere.”
Personally, I’m excited about the game, and was fortunate to have the opportunity to sit down with the Aubrey twins. (Although we had an East Texas battle of our own, with their hometown being Tyler, TX and mine being Longview, TX, but we put our differences aside for the interview :). )
Remember to wear your purple, bring your ax handles, and bring that Lumberjack spirit to help cheer on the Lumberjacks Saturday, October 6th in Houston TX, Reliant Stadium! Axe ‘Em Jacks!