It will be the first game between the two schools, separated by only three miles, since 2005.
“It’s a pretty big rivalry,” Campbell coach Harris Rainbow said. “It’s a big game for our kids and a big game for our community. These kids know each other and grew up with each other, so everyone is very excited.”
Squaring off against his good friend Rainbow is something that Osborne coach Xarvia Smith was not looking forward to, though he acknowledges that renewing the rivalry between the two schools was the right thing to do.
“It’s going to be really tough,” Smith said. “Coach Rainbow is a good friend of mine, and he has meant so much to my career, so it’s going to be tough to go against him. Coach Rainbow didn’t want to play us, and I didn’t want to play them, but we thought it was good for the county and the community that we bring this rivalry back. The kids are excited about this game and they can’t wait to get out there and play Campbell.”
Campbell has pretty much dominated the rivalry, winning 15 of the 18 games it has played with Osborne, including the last seven in a row. The Cardinals haven’t beaten the Spartans since 1998.
Campbell (1-0) comes into the game with plenty of momentum after a convincing 35-6 win over Morrow in its season opener two weeks ago. And it will be trying to start the season 2-0 for the first time since 2007.
However, Rainbow said it’s too early to read anything into the Spartans season-opening win.
“It’s always good to win instead of lose and it was a good win for us, but we still have a long way to go to be a good football team,” Rainbow said.
As for Osborne, the Cardinals are trying to build some momentum of their own after an 0-2 start.
The Cardinals came close to a win last week as they were edged out by McNair 15-14.
“We’re playing pretty solid defense and we’re running the ball decently,” Smith said. “But we’re making so many mental errors that we’re beating ourselves. We’ve got to get a lot better play from our skill positions.”
Nevertheless, Rainbow is expecting a tough challenge from Osborne, especially from the Cardinal defense.
“Osborne is a good football team,” Rainbow said. “Their record might not indicate it, but they are a good team. They are strong defensively and they’re very physical. Coach Smith is one of the best defensive coaches in the state, so it’s going to be tough to score against them.”
For Smith, Campbell’s superior depth will provide a challenge for his less deep Osborne squad.
“The biggest challenge is that Campbell has more players than us,” Rainbow said. “They have more players and more skill kids than we do. They have had some pretty good teams, so they have more of a tradition then we do. They’re very athletic, especially on the defensive line.”