Essential reporting in volatile times.

Click here to stay informed and subscribe to the Coal Valley News.

Click #isupportlocal for more information on supporting our local journalists.

0927_sherman beats van

Phil Perry | Coal Valley News

Sherman hoists the coal shovel in the air that they took back to Seth after their 28-0 win over Van on Sept. 22, 2017. Van will travel to Zontini Field tonight where they look to bring the spade back to Bulldogs' trophy case.

SETH -Rivalry games usually bring communities together.

While SSAC guidelines will allow attendance from household members and grandparents only in relation to COVID-19 tonight at Zontini Field at Seth, Sherman will host Van in a cross-county collision dubbed, “The Showdown for the Shovel.”

Sherman High has held the coal shovel that goes to the victor of the game each year since 2017 and the Bulldogs look to bring it back to Van and stash it in their trophy case.

“To the Victor goes this spade” is engraved on the shovel and Sherman Coach Michael Showalter said that his team looks to defend it.

“It’s something we take a lot of pride in and our boys know the importance of keeping it in our trophy case,” said Showalter. “They don’t want to give up something that was left to them to keep by past teams. I think it’s been a great addition to our series with Van.”

The Tide leads the all-time series (43-17). The schools began playing in 1931 with Sherman prevailing, 60-0. After several years without playing the Tide, Van pulled out a 13-2 win in 1954 for then-Bulldog Coach Randall Cooper at Herschel Jarrell Field.

In a portion of Sherman’s Class AA years between 1981 and 1995, the teams did not play. The series resumed in 1996 with Sherman winning, 26-0, at Van.

Sherman has county pride on the line and after a 14-8 win over Class AA Scott this season, they are playing for an undisputed Boone County Championship.

The Tide (2-2) will be without the services of junior Colby Buzzard, an All-County standout wide receiver who is recovering from a broken wrist.

Van will get All-County offensive lineman and inside linebacker Slade Adams back tonight after missing time with a broken arm. Adams is the Bulldogs’ returning leading tackler from 2019.

Sherman’s offense starts with rugged junior running back CJ Winnell who has netted 471 yards and 7 touchdowns through four games.

Quarterback Davy Jarrell has nearly completed 50 percent of his passes for 490 yards and three scores that includes an 86-yard strike for pay dirt while adding three more touchdowns with his feet.

The Tide is led on defense by Hunter Bowling, who has camped out in opposing offenses’ backfield in 2020.

Van is a 4-headed rushing monster in the backfield with athletic signal-caller Kaleb Booth, Shaun Booth, Brady Green and Byron Stewart.

The Bulldogs (2-1) are averaging over 300 yards rushing per contest and will be without Stewart versus Sherman due to a knee injury.

“These kids are excited for this game and the chance to play for the shovel,” said Van Coach Mark Agosti. “To see the excitement in their eyes is what it is all about.”

Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. If there is a live broadcast of the game, a link can be found at game time by searching for “Chris Sherman Tide Jarrell” on Facebook.