The eyes of Atascosa County will turn toward Indian Stadium in Jourdanton on Friday night. That is when the Jourdanton Indians and Pleasanton Eagles face each other on the football field. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
It will be the fourth meeting between the rivals since 2016. The two have returned to meeting on the football field after not playing for more than half a century. Prior to 2016 the Indians and Eagles hadn’t tussled in pads since the 1961 season. They had played every year from the early 20th century until 1961.
Then the series stopped.
The last paragraph in the Pleasanton Express article on the 1961 game mentions two opposing lineman being disqualified for an altercation, but that it was a lone incident. Pleasanton won the 1961 contest by a score of 22-6.
Between 1962 and 2015 the only way for Pleasanton and Jourdanton to prove whose team was better was by comparing notes on their contests against Poteet in years that both schools played the Aggies.
The Highway 97 Rivalry was rekindled in 2016 and 2017 before a two-year hiatus in 2018 and 2019. Last season the Indians beat Pleasanton 35-7, the first Jourdanton win over Pleasanton since 1957.
This past week, while waiting for Pleasanton to play at San Antonio Antonian and Jourdanton to tangle with Calallen on the road, I did a dive into the Express Archives to see what I could find about the series.
I started with 1962 to see if there was any mention as to why the two wouldn’t be playing that season. I couldn’t find anything on why the two schools weren’t scheduled to play each other that year.
Unfortunately our archives only go back to 1952 so I was unable to dive any deeper. If anyone has clippings or information on the games before 1950, please feel free to reach out to us here at the Express.
What I could gather from our archives is that between 1950 and 61 it was a tale of streaks between the two schools.
That, and Pleasanton had trouble winning in Jourdanton. The Eagles were 1-5-1 in Jourdanton between 1950-61. The Eagles home record against the Indians between 1950- 61 was 4-2.
Perhaps my favorite quote about the series comes from the Sept. 7, 1960-issue of the Express:
“It would take a flood, a tornado, a gold discovery or something kindred to overshadow talk about whether the Eagles or the Indians will prevail. Fact is, if a couple of JHS and PHS fans were picked up by a cyclonic wind, they might be arguing results while in transit.”
That issue of the Express came out a day before the Eagles defeated the Indians 14-6 in Pleasanton.
I was unable to find a score for the 1951 game, but articles from later in the 50s mentioned that Jourdanton had won that game as part of a run between 1951 and 1955 when the Indians won five in a row.
I found that the Express was reporting on two droughts in the early 1950s, one was the lack of rain in Atascosa County, the other drought was the Eagles inability to beat the Indians. That changed in 1956. That year the drought seems to have ended as there was a lot of rain and the Eagles finally beat Jourdanton for the first time since 1950.
Jourdanton got their revenge on Pleasanton with a 20-6 win in 1957. The next time the two played in Jourdanton was 1959 and that game ended in a 12-12 tie. The final installment of the rivalry for 55 years came in Jourdanton in 1961. Pleasanton won that for their first win in Jourdanton since at least the late 40s.
Now the two schools will meet again this Friday night. If Pleasanton wins it will make back-to-back victories in Jourdanton, something the Eagles of the 1950s could only dream of. If Jourdanton wins they will have beaten Pleasanton in back-to-back years for the first time since that run of five straight from 1951-55. Any Indians from those teams that are still around will surely feel it is like deja vu all over again.