The cross-river football rivalry between Warren and Monticello ratcheted up a notch, a big notch, when Union Bank & Trust created what is believed to be the largest trophy in the state, for the winner of the “Union Bank & Trust Saline River Shootout.”
The trophy, unveiled at a Friday morning press conference at Union Bank, will be awarded each year to the winner of the annual game between the Monticello Billies and the Warren Lumberjacks, a rivalry that dates back at least 80 years.
“As big as this rivalry is today, it’s hard to believe it has the potential to get bigger,” said Union Bank president Dave Dickson. “Next year, Warren and Monticello will be in the same conference, so that game, which means a tremendous amount right now, it will mean more next year when they’re playing in the same conference for standings.”
The trophy, believed to weigh around 100 pounds, will be displayed at Warren High School for a week and at Monticello High School for a week prior to the September 9 game. It will be at the football field the night of the game. After awarded, it will remain with the winning team until the next season’s game.
“We’re going to have to determine how to award it because it’s going to take four or five of these Union Bank guys to get it to the players,” Dickson said.
Warren Coach Bo Hembree says the annual Warren-Monticello game is a big one regardless of the trophy, but now that there is a big trophy on the line, it’s going to intensify the rivalry even more.
Creating a trophy of this magnitude and the official titling of the game shows the quality of football in Southeast Arkansas, which Monticello Coach Greg Tiner believes sometimes gets overlooked. “I think this will help that,” Tiner said. “I think this will help us get a little more airtime, a little more respect.”
The rivalry will take on even more importance next year when Monticello moves to Warren’s conference.
Monticello School District superintendent Bobby Harper said he’s working with the 4A conference right now to schedule the Monticello and Warren game as the final game of the season every year.
“There’s a lot of great rivalries going on in Southeast Arkansas and we’re going to try to make a schedule so that all those rivalries come together at the end of the year,” Harper explained.
The trophy and annual shootout is the dream-child of two Union Bank assistant vice-presidents, Brandon Hogg of Monticello and Randy Rawls of Warren.
The 2011 Saline River Shootout will be on September 9 at Hyatt Field in Monticello. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.
Warren Lumberjacks Justin Hall & Jalen Cobb, and Monticello Billies Edwin Thornton & Troy Brunson
Hall, Cobb, Thornton & Brunson
Warren Coach Bo Hembree & Monticello Coach Greg Tiner
Hembree & Tiner
Warren administrators Gary Jackson & Andrew Tolbert, Monticello administrators Bobby Harper & Kenny Pennington
Hall and Cobb, Tiner in background
Hall, Cobb and Thornton
Hall, Cobb, Thornton and Brunson
Hall, Cobb, Thornton and Brunson
Monticello superintendent Bobby Harper
Dave Dickson and Greg Tiner
Players helping Dave Dickson pick up the trophy from table
Hall, Cobb and Dickson
Tiner, Harper, Brandon Hogg (far left standing) Brunson and Thornton
Part of the crowd attending the press conference
Hebree and Tiner
Lumberjack helmet on trophy
Billies helmet on trophy