Friday night, the "Bum Phillips Trophy" will not be in the hands of either PN-G nor Nederland for the first time since 2014.
"Maybe they'll reconsider it, that's been a tradition," says PN-G fan Pete Kinnett. "The teams like to take pictures and if it ain't broke don't try to fix it, let's keep it going."
In a letter on Tuesday, Port Arthur News publisher Rich Macke and Port Neches-Groves superintendent Dr. Mike Gonzalez announced that there will not be a postgame trophy presentation on the field at the conclusion of "Mid-County Madness."
The letter states that "Bum," whom the trophy is named after, wouldn't want the trophy to outshine the game or be the cause of any potential safety hazard for those celebrating the game.
RELATED | 'Bum' trophy to be awarded next week
Fans of both the Indians and Bulldogs have found common ground in wondering why that change was made.
"Taking away a trophy presentation to the winning team after the game is not a security threat in my eyes," says Nederland fan David Morris. "I was a 12-year police officer and I just don't understand how that can be a safety or security concern."
"When you're a senior at either school this is the biggest game of the year," says Indians fan Jeff Lane. "Not to hoist the trophy after this game is going to hurt."
Both fan bases add that they haven't noticed any problems on the field following "Mid-County Madness" in the past to warrant a change.
"Seen a lot of games over the years and I don't feel like there would be any safety issues or concern, says Lane. "If there is, there's always plenty of police officers, school officials, and coaches on hand but I don't feel like anything would get out of hand."
Bulldog fan James Mosley says "All the years I've been going to this game, I've never seen one fight break out after a game."
Dr. Mike Gonzalez became the superintendent of Port Neches-Groves ISD in December of 2017.
Before the PN-G football team took the field this season, changes were made for fans entering "The Reservation."
The new safety protocol prohibited backpacks, food containers and sonic drink cups along with personal items having to go through a security check.
Mosley says "I understand the times that we live in are different and that's why I appreciate Port Neches-Groves stepping up and taking the lead on some safety."
Regardless of who wins Friday night, Mosley feels the players and the memory of Bum Phillips will be affected.
"Think about it, PN-G might win and they could be the ones that do it in front of their parents but now they won't have the opportunity for pictures or memories," says Mosley. "This is the biggest rivalry in Texas and you've added the "Bum Phillips Trophy" to it, yet you're not going to honor it on the night that the team wins. It just doesn't makes sense."
The letter does say that the trophy will be at the game near the end zone like it has been the past four years.
However, the trophy presentation will be organized at the winning school next week.
"Next week the players will be focused on their playoff game, not what happened last week," says Morris. "It's taking away something exciting that players and families can experience."
As for the long awaited matchup itself, there is a chance of rain Friday night.
Yet, we can't imagine the atmosphere in the stands changing despite the weather and expect both fan bases to provide electricity throughout "The Reservation" in which only this rivalry can produce.
The PN-G Indians (6-3, 5-1) come into Friday night winning five of its last six games, with its only loss coming as a forfeit to Crosby for illegal technology in the press box.
Kinnett says "It's going to be a good game, but I bleed purple and we're going to kennel those dogs."
The undefeated Nederland Bulldogs (9-0, 6-0) have had some close calls this season, but have ultimately shown its vicious bite in defeating every team they've played.
Mosley says "Breakfast tastes better when you beat PN-G."