There are rivalries. And then there's Middletown and Port Jervis. The two high school football teams renew their fierce rivalry Thanksgiving morning. Our Christian Farrell has more on the big game and its special meaning to one family.
MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. -- It's that time of the year. Time for the traditional Middletown - Port Jervis football feud. The two high schools renew their rivalry for the 134th time Thanksgiving morning. At stake is the coveted Erie Bell Trophy. But what you might not know is that there's also some family bragging rights on the line. Call it the Coates versus the Kahmars.
"Jared Kahmar married my younger sister, Laurie Coates," said Middletown Athletic Director David Coates.
The two opposing schools have a family connection. Coates and former Port Jervis Athletic Director, and current Port high school assistant principal, Jared Kahmar, are brothers in law.
"The whole Coates family is great," said Kahmar.
But leading up to the annual Bell game, that kind of complimentary language tends to lessen a bit. A football game that dates back to 1897 between these two blue collar communities can do that.
"We talk leading up to the game and then it’s kind of like he'll be on his sideline and I'll be on my sideline. We'll probably meet up at halftime, talk a little bit about what he thought, what I thought," said Kahmar.
Now despite their differences, the one thing Coates and Kahmar do agree on is that the outcome of the Erie Bell Game can either spoil your dinner or certainly make that turkey taste a whole lot better.
"The afterwards is much better after you win," said Kahmar.
With a Red Raiders win last year, it was Kahmar who enjoyed the sweet taste of victory.
"He rubbed it in a little bit last year. But he was very cordial. He hosted Thanksgiving dinner last year," said Coates.
With Middletown being the home team Thursday, it'll be the Coates family's turn to host. Which leaves us with one final thought: Who does the woman who ultimately joined these families together root for? Her brother or her husband?
"She also works here at Port Jervis. She loves her brother dearly, but Port Jervis is in her heart. So, she'll be cheering on the black and red," said Kahmar.