Monarchs, Aztecs ready for first gridiron showdown this Friday

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By Patrick Dillon | @PDillon_SGN

FARMERSVILLE – The relationship between the towns of Exeter and Farmersville are much closer than the 4.7 miles separating their two high schools.

Many parents of current Farmersville High students attended school in Exeter, and many parents of Exeter students have friends who lived in Farmersville. A football game between the two schools only seemed natural.

This Friday night at 7:00 p.m. in Farmersville the Aztecs and Monarchs will step on the gridiron for the first time, and it features a unique matchup which resembles how close knit the communities are.

Farmersville head coach Marco Gutierrez will stand on the opposite sideline and coach against the very man who taught him Exeter head coach Keirsten Lamb.

“It is going to be kind of cool while weird at the same time,” Gutierrez said. “I always thought I would be coaching with him, not against him.”

Toward the end of the 2017 football season was when a possible football game between the Monarchs and the Aztecs was mentioned. Former Farmersville athletic director Dan Swagerty was the first to approach Exeter’s athletic director Andrew Montes. Montes then went to Lamb and his principal Bob Mayo. The reaction at Exeter was let’s make this game happen. The proximity of the two high schools only added to the enthusiasm to make the game a reality. Only eight minutes separated the two schools which kept with Exeter’s attempt to schedule nearby opponents.

“Everyone was on board from the beginning,” Montes said. “It makes sense because they are right down the street. It was pretty easy to set up.”

Although Swagerty is no longer around there is no drop off of excitement from the Aztecs. Farmerville’s new athletic director Chris Sanchez is happy to see this game happen. While serving as the athletic director at Famersville Unified’s middle school, Sanchez scheduled flag football games between Farmersville and Wilson Middle School in Exeter as part of the Quad League.

“This is a game which we’ve already been playing at the lower levels,” Sanchez said.

Farmersville and Exeter are not strangers at playing each other in the major high school sports, and have even formed some rivalries. The Monarchs holds the lead in games with a 17-9-1 overall record. In basketball Exeter leads the “Battle for the Belt” game 4-3, but Farmersville has won three in a row. The “Chuy Cup” which pits the Monarchs and Aztecs boys soccer teams against each other is led by Farmersville 6-1-1. In woman sports Exeter is undefeated at 11-0, and after Friday volleyball will be the lone major sport the two schools have not faced each other in.

Currently the matchup is only scheduled through the 2019 season, and has no official name. Whether or not this game is continued will matter mostly on how well it is played.

This season the teams are separated by two divisions with Exeter being in D-IV and Farmersville being in D-VI.The Aztecs should gain some experience going up against a team like Exeter who are not only in a higher division, but see tough league competition every year. They will need it as they prepare for their first season in the East Sequoia League.

“This game has the potential of being played every year,” Sanchez said. “We’ll just have to adjust and continue to build our program.”

In Exeter’s case it comes down to a juggling act. Already part of the difficult Central Sequoia League a game against a lower division opponent helps balance out their level of competition.

“It is going to be a competitive matchup,” Montes said. “Farmersville has talent and tough kids.”

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