By Keith Harrington
When I was a child growing up my Uncles Bob Roberts and Bill Grastorf, along with my grandfather Gordon Parks used to annually take me to the Granville vs. Whitehall rivalry game. My mom's cousin Ron Grastorf was coaching at Whitehall at the time. The crowds were enormous. The battles were intense. I will never forget it!
As a broadcaster for Lake Region Radio I was on the play by play for countless Granville vs. Whitehall games. I was there to watch coaching legends John Millett and Mike Macura go head to head. The earlier contests between Ambrose Gilligan and Sam Eppolito are classic.
This afternoon the age-old rival Golden Horde and Railroaders will join forces on the football field as Granville-Whitehall for the first time. Slipping on their Florida State modeled uniforms to take on Cambridge-Salem. The game signifies the end of a rivalry and the culmination of a long road.
Granville and Whitehall have been trying to put this merger together since before the Covid-19 pandemic. At one point it had even been agreed upon but Whitehall decided to back out and make one more attempt to go it alone. After the Railroaders were only able to field a junior viarsity team last year and Granville stuggled to maintain numbers and compete, the handwriting was on the wall more than ever.
So, today coach Darin Eggleston and his coaching staff will lead Granville-Whitehall on to the field as one team instead of foes for the first time. Win or lose it is a historic day.
Now, I am sure there are some people out there who are having a difficult time accepting this. For some, the wounds and the blood of what once was still run deep. Seeing Whitehall kids wearing the Granville gold or Granville students decked out in the Railroader's maroon is a bit much to deal with.
It's time to let it go and embrace the new journey. Let these kids create their own stories to tell their children and grandchildren somewhere down the road about how two heated rivals came together to build a football dynasty.
Will it take some time. Absolutley. The Class C schedule this season is daunting, full of teams such a Schuylerville, Stillwater, Mechanicville and Watervliet with oustanding traditions of their own. Patience is a virtue here. Given time and support I feel there is reason to be optimistic that down the road Granville and Whitehall will return to the glory days of the past. It will just look a little different. They will rise again. And they will be "Greater Together." And it all starts today!
Photo Credit-Jen Dickinson