Battle of the ravine: A brief history on the clash between Henderson and Ouachita

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Created by William Matthews

Henderson State and Ouachita Baptist to face off in yet another Battle of the Ravine.

The annual Arkadelphia showdown approaches once again. This Saturday marks another Battle of the Ravine game for the Henderson and Ouachita football teams. It’s an event that puts a special spotlight on the schools and the town. Cars line highway 67 on both sides with the stands overflowing with red and purple. But how did this all start?

The first Battle of the Ravine, named after the ravine that runs through both campuses, was first held in 1895 on Thanksgiving day with Ouachita beating Henderson (named Arkadelphia Methodist College at the time) 8-0. However, despite the loss, Thanksgiving was still a great day to bring the local community together. A parade and several parties would be thrown to celebrate the game and the holidays. Remnants of it can still be seen today in the tailgates that take place all across the ravine.

In its history, this sporting event was suspended two major times. Once due to the start of World War TwoI, and another between 1951 and 1963. The week leading up to the game was filled with banter and pranks from both schools. However, the excessive vandalism of school property forced both schools to halt the game until things were better under control. Now, signs covered in bags, stadium lights are left on at night, and students patrol their respective campus watching for suspicious activity.

The Battle of the Ravine is now held on Saturdays like most scheduled conference games, and pranks are still anticipated by each side. The pranks might cause trouble for the schools and students for a time, but it all comes together on game day. And this Saturday’s game might be another for the history books.