The Ol’ River Jug more than just an ordinary jug


The Mirror reporter

On Friday, Oct. 6  the Stevens Point Area Senior High football team will face off against longtime rival Wisconsin Rapids, and they will be playing for more than just a W. The two teams will be vying for the coveted River Jug, a piece of history that highlights the rivalry between the two teams.

This will be the 71st anniversary of the River Jug.  SPASH has won 12 of the last 15 meetings between the teams and the overall series is in favor of SPASH as well at 39-30 with one tie (7-7).

After Wisconsin Rapids eked out a victory at Goerke Field last year SPASH will be looking to return the favor and get the jug back. Coach Pete McAdams said he hopes the team “can use that energy to create a W.”

This seems to be exactly what his seniors are doing as senior team captain Cole Wright stated, “After last year we have a chip on our shoulders, we want to prove that we are a great team.”

SPASH Athletic Director Mike Blair said, “It is a long-standing tradition that dates back to the fathers and grandfathers of some of our players. It a great tradition of two neighboring communities going at it on the gridiron, showing good sportsmanship but, at the end, wanting to be the ones that carry home the River Jug at the end of the night.”

On Oct. 28, 1947, Roy Menzel, a public relations specialist, hatched an idea. He thought implementing a jug or “trophy” into the annual high school football game would help ease tensions between students of the longtime rivals.

Wright said, “I think this rivalry became what it is today because we are so close to one another and we always play each other. It’s great to have a true ‘rival’ to go against.”

The scores from every game are written on one side of the jug so the original was filled up and replaced in 1988. The replacement is still unfilled to this day. On the other side of the jug it states, “May the best win the test. Or the lesser “outplug” the better for the jug.”

One other larger jug exists, that is used for sideline display during and after the game.

Coach McAdams said, “It isn’t all about the Jug, you also have to factor in how important the game is to the conference standings every year. Some years this game will decide whether or not you make the playoffs.”

Blair said, “For many rivalry games you throw the record out the window and that is true with this one. Whenever these two teams get together you know it is going to be a great game. Last year was a heartbreaker for us at home, so hopefully we can return the favor this year.”

Coach McAdams said, “This jug goes back and helps fuel one of the oldest rivalries in the state. The muddy River Jug defines what that these schools have gone through and some of the battles they’ve had.”