WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – High school football is back as teams across the Sunflower State will hit the field Friday night.
However, it’s not just about the players, cheerleaders and fans, it’s also about the coaches trying to lead their team to victory.
Separated by just more than a mile, Wichita Northwest and Bishop Carroll have formed a competitive rivalry.
Wichita Northwest head coach Steve Martin took over the lead role for the Grizzlies in 2012.
“When I took this job in 2012, Northwest hadn’t beaten Carroll since 2005, prior to that was ’99 or 2000,” said Martin.
For Bishop Carroll, their head coach Dusty Trail spent years as an offensive coordinator under Alan Schuckman, before becoming the man in charge in 2017.
“It is a rivalry game, we want a barometer to see where we are at,” said Trail.
While they are the respective leaders of their teams, they are also close friends.
“After the season when we lost in the state title game, Coach Trail sent me a text saying hey man, you were close, great game, we met after that and just sat and talked and reflected on some things,” said Martin.
Trail has a similar story.
“Coach Martin was the first guy to call me, and first guy to offer help to me,” said Trail.
Martin and Trail say they’ve known each other since 2009, when Martin took over as Defensive Coordinator over at Wichita Heights.
“It’s kind of a brotherly relationship, you know, where brothers get after each other, but they really care for each other,” said Trail.
Their tight knit relationship was on full display on a cold November night last year, with both their teams squaring off in the 5A State Playoffs.
It was a game for the ages that saw Northwest come out with the record setting win, 84 to 67.
“We popped four footballs that night, it was blowing, it was cold,” said Martin.
The two coaches met in the middle of the field afterwards and couldn’t help but laugh.
“I mean, who could have predicted that? It was just a crazy night,” said Trail.
Come Friday, these two friends will be on opposite ends of the sideline once again, as their teams look to write another chapter in their storied rivalry.
“I want to beat him more than anybody, he wants to beat me more than anybody,” said Trail.
Bishop Carroll and Northwest will square off Friday night at 7 p.m.