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September 1, 2011

Tigers Targeting Return of Rock Trophy in Final Trip to Clark County



The youngest members of the Scotland County R-I football program weren't even in school yet. The eight seniors would have been in second grade when former SCR-I standout Jason Rockhold was killed in a one-vehicle traffic accident on October 21, 2001.

A season after the tragic accident, family members joined with the sports department in an effort to honor Jason's memory. The Rock traveling trophy was established to commemorate one of Jason's favorite contests, Scotland County versus Clark County football. The winner of the annual event took home bragging rights along with the trophy, only to bring it back the following year to travel home with the winner.

While most of the current Tigers were too young to remember Jason's accident, they are on a mission to bring back the Rock trophy in what likely is the final installment of the rivalry game.

In 2012, the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) will switch to a nine-game regular season format for high school football. That means one fewer regular season football game. Clark County, which switched to the Clarence Cannon Conference last year, will now only have enough dates to play each of the nine conference members, eliminating the non-conference game versus SCR-I.

"This has kind of put us in a bind," said athletic director Marc Colvin. "We lost games versus two CCC teams, Clark and Highland. Right now there just aren't a lot of teams with open dates to fill in those contests."

Nearly as unattractive as the thought of having a bye week, with no opponent scheduled, is the loss of one of the best rivalries on the calendar for the Tigers.

The looming schedule change means 2011 will be the last chance for SCR-I to bring the Rock trophy home from Kahoka. After winning the inaugural Rock game in 2002, the Tigers have seen Clark County take the trophy back to Kahoka for eight straight seasons, including a brutal four year stretch from 2005-2008 that saw SCR-I outscored 201-0.

"We've been playing these guys for 40 years," said current SCR-I head coach Brent Bondurant. "Back in the 70s and 80s Scotland County had the leg up, but the past two decades Clark County turned the tide on us."

The last time SCR-I beat the Indians was in Bondurant's debut season, 2001, at the helm of the Tigers.

"We had several close contests early on before the lean years there in the middle when they were challenging for a state title every year," Bondurant stated. "The last few years we've narrowed the gap."

The SCR-I faithful and friends and family of the Rock are hoping the 2011 team can close the gap and bring the trophy home for good on Friday night.


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