Reflecting on the Columbus-Northside Rivalry, 15 Years Later
Written by The Blue Streak Features Team: Natalie Miller, Cynthia Short, and Avery Sutherland
In 2004, Columbus High School played Northside High School in football for the first time. 15 years later, the pairing has evolved to become one of the biggest high school rivalries in Columbus. While CHS won only 4 of those 15 games, the memories that resulted have shaped the high school experiences of a generation of Blue Devils. In honor of the end of this unique matchup as a result of division changes, let’s look back on the past 15 years of memories and traditions.
Before Northside High School was established in 2002, Columbus High had a strong tradition of rivalry with Hardaway High School. Our very own Ms. Mills, who is a graduate of Columbus High School, has fond memories of being a high school student during this period in CHS history.
“Prior to the Hardaway game, students would be pumped for a win much like today. We would form motorcades like a parade with decorated cars to show the spirit for our school. We would dress in spirit wear, meet at the school in our cars, and follow one another to the stadium,” she recalls.
Northside High School was established in 2002, and it quickly became a budding rival for Columbus.
“Every school has rivals and as a new school, Northside had to pick theirs. They are the public school most similar to CHS in terms of student makeup, so a rivalry was inevitable,” says Coach Parker.
However, there were other factors that also contributed to the growing competition between both schools.
“When Northside was built, many of the students who went to school there were friends of the students at CHS,” Coach Marino states.
Furthermore, each school’s perceived superiority served to cement the new rivalry as one of the strongest in Columbus.
As Ms. Mills put it, “Each of our schools claimed to be ‘the best,’ which only accelerated the rivalry.”
Over the years, students and faculty alike have made many special memories as part of the growing tradition of rivalry.
“I remember the Twitter wars- although I haven’t been privy to them, I know that they happened. People have shown me some funny memes on both sides, and they had to admit some of them were really funny from Northside as well as ours,” remembers Mrs. Williamson.
Williamson also has proud memories of a football victory against the Patriots that took place early in the rivalry.
“I think I still have the picture saved of the first time that I remember our football team winning against them since I'd been here. They went all the way over to the crowd and held their helmets up, and the crowd just went wild. It was a proud moment, especially feeling like the underdogs.”
While football may be the most prominent representation of the pride and school spirit both Columbus and Northside put into continuing the rivalry, the competition surrounding it has impacted the cultures of other sports.
“It just so happens that the first year I taught here, we played Northside in the state softball championships, where we beat them,” says Mrs. Boswell, who taught English and coached softball at CHS before becoming its Magnet Director. “It’s probably one of my favorite memories since I’ve been here.”
Another standout moment in 15 years of competition is 2018’s whiteout game.
“For certain, our most memorable moment was last year’s 34-3 victory… it also placed us in the state playoffs, where we went on to win our first playoff game in 44 years,” recalls Coach Parker.
While the future of the Columbus-Northside rivalry is in question, the experiences that have come about because of it will undoubtedly live on forever.
“At the end of the day it’s a fun rivalry,” Coach Mathis emphasized.
This sentiment is especially true for members of the senior class, who celebrated not only their last whiteout game, but also their last high school football game.
As senior and Blue Brigade member Amiri Sonie states, “I feel sad about the rivalry ending because of how much fun we had every year and the thrill of the game. I am sad that we didn’t win, but I had a great time regardless!”