Carson-Douglas football: Then and now

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This Friday will be the 85th meeting between the Carson and Douglas football teams, continuing a series that spans 100 years.

The century-long rivalry has seen its fair share of thrilling classics, blowouts, winning streaks — and even four ties.

Carson leads the all-time series 54-26-4 thanks to winning streaks in the 1920s, ’50s and ’80s.

Douglas pushed back with a long winning streak through the early 2000s and taking a majority of contests in the late 1940s and early ’50s.

From 1987 to 1997, the two programs traded wins each and every year for a decade.

Numerous occasions have decided which team will make the playoffs. Others have caused heartbreak as the two foes grappled with a season — and a postseason spot — hanging in the balance.

“The emotion is so intense. You just feel it in the air,” said Bob Bateman, who had multiple stints coaching at both Carson and Douglas. “It’s an uncle telling you, or a grandpa telling you the score from before. … Many, many times both teams are playing way beyond their normal capacity because of the emotions.”

There certainly isn’t anything like it in Nevada. In terms of length of series, games played, proximity of schools and the fact that both areas are “one-school towns,” nothing comes close.

“It’s hard to explain unless you’re a part of it. It does mean more,” said former Douglas head coach Mike Rippee. “It feels like a playoff game ever year. … It’s the best in the state. I think the Carson-Douglas rivalry is as strong as ever and continues to be the best around.”


You don’t have to look very far to find terse remarks about the other side.

However, both Carson City and Minden have seen this rivalry blossom because of some rare traits. The stem of that rose comes down to both communities being, essentially, one-high-school towns.

With Carson City pushing its population to near 60,000, it’s practically unheard of (especially in 2023) for a city that large to remain with one major public high school.

Gardnerville and Minden have remained the same way.

The uniqueness of both communities makes them special, but has also helped the two areas to coalesce.

You could compile a laundry list of names that have either played or coached for both programs. It feeds The Rivalry to this day.

“There is a uniqueness with winded and blended relationships,” said Bateman. “You have coaches, friendships, family, marriages on both sides of the teams and communities.”

Blair Roman played for Douglas High School in the 1980s before becoming the head coach at Carson, despite Tiger Field being named in his father’s honor.

“It may be one of the best rivalries in the country. You just don’t find too many places where you have so much history and such special communities and special people on both sides,” said Roman.


The prestige of the Carson-Douglas sports rivalry is preached to every new athlete.

A fair amount of the acrimony is passed down and learned by the next class, the next generation.

There may be a significant level of personal animosity that comes through during rivalry week, but ask anyone who has been on both sides, and you will find the two communities that are still capable of caring for one another.

“Outside of the game there have been instances in both communities where there has been a tragedy from one of the schools that relates to a football player. The opposing football team is first and foremost there to console, to help,” said Bateman. “Literally the football team from the opposing school is there for them to be a pillar of support.”

As of this Friday, The Rivalry has been around for 100 years. There isn’t a soul in either town who expects the annual football classic to fade anytime soon.

(The Carson Appeal news story from 1924 when Carson defeated Douglas 7-0 in the third ever meeting between the two schools.)


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