Loudon and Lenoir City square off in 87th Battle of the Bridge

Loudon and Lenoir City square off in 87th Battle of the Bridge

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The Battle of the Bridge football game is the center of the competition, but both schools are also battling for donations. The Battle of the Bridge football game is the center of the competition, but both schools are also battling for donations.
The goal is to raise the most donations for the Good Samaritan Center of Loudon County. The goal is to raise the most donations for the Good Samaritan Center of Loudon County.
The two schools raised 269,000 pounds of food for the center in 2012. That's 45 percent of its yearly output. The two schools raised 269,000 pounds of food for the center in 2012. That's 45 percent of its yearly output.

By DREW GARDNER
6 News Reporter

LENOIR CITY (WATE) - Lenoir City and Loudon are squaring off in one the oldest rivalries in East Tennessee high school football.

The Battle of the Bridge takes place Friday night at Lenoir City High School.

The rivalry dates back all the way to 1926. The tradition is rooted deep in both communities.

"For three generations my family has been playing football here," said Loudon High Junior Jack Nichols. "My grandfather has his jersey retired here."

"It's just tradition," said Loudon High Junior Josh Jackson. "We've always had it around."

"It's intense," said Loudon High Senior Trent Eliott. "You're nervous all day in school Can't wait to get out there and when you get out there and you hear that band playing and all those fans it just gets the adrenaline going."

The football game is the center of the competition, but both schools are also battling for donations.

"Throughout the whole week we've collected cans and money and change just anything we can," said Lenoir City High Junior Sydney Simpson.

The goal is to raise the most donations for the Good Samaritan Center of Loudon County. Organizers say it's a perfect chance to turn that school spirit into something even greater.

"It's just been really surprising I didn't realize how many people actually contributed to this program until I started this class," said Lenoir City Junior Shelby Gasche.

"It makes me happy to realize that there are some selfless people out there in the community that actually want to help out and it makes me happy to be a part of the community," added Lenoir City Junior Mattie Humphreys.

Loudon's principal made a last ditch effort to put her school over the top by showing up in a Lenoir City T-shirt demanding donations from students and teachers before changing back into Loudon colors.

"We did it in about 15 minutes," said Loudon Principal Cheri Parrish. "We told them it would take over $200 and we did that."

Loudon has taken the win for the food drive nine of the thirteen years it's been going. As for this year, the official count won't be known until later tonight when the teams take the field.

The two schools raised 269,000 pounds of food for the center in 2012. That's 45 percent of its yearly output.

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