Nothing defined the changing of the seasons in Wallace more than the annual mother of all gridiron wars when the Wallace Miners and the Kellogg Wildcats banged heads on the gridiron. The battles in my childhood years were fierce, but I have been told and have read that the battles before my time were the clashes that gave birth to legends of mythical proportions.
As the crisp, clean, Autumn air turned cooler, and Jack Frost kissed the trees and grass with his lips of ice, the attention of the great rivalry turned from the outdoor fields of battle to the indoor hardwood floors of pain. The indoor battles were no less grueling and hostile than their counterpart wars fought outdoors. The shape of the ball was different, but the desired outcome was the same, beat Kellogg.
The year was 1962, I was but a young chap in grade school and my big brother was in the 7th grade. It was a Friday night in the cold of winter and there was a palpable excitement in the air. Tonight was the night of the home game between the Miners and the Wildcats. Both teams were loaded, and the matchup was sure to do nothing to melt the searing hot flames of rivalry between the two schools and towns that co-inhabited the Coeur d'Alene Mining District.
In those days when the two schools did battle, there was not a seat left in the Wallace Civic Auditorium. My brother and I arrived early that night to watch the junior varsity game that preceded the main event. When we entered the auditorium, the place was already filling up. Even the JV game, not usually a game that drew a lot of interest, was pitched up several notches, as the two opposing sides of fans roared every time their respective team made a basket.
The buzzer finally sounded and the JV game was over. By now the excitement in the gym had taken on a life of its own. The bleachers were packed, the balconies were full, the respective school pep bands were waiting for the grand entrance of the round-ball gladiators. And then it began. The roar of he crowd from the Kellogg side as their team came from the visitor's locker room and the KHS band played the Wildcat's fight song.
That loud noise was short lived though as a thunderous roar rocked the auditorium. The decibels, I dare say, would probably have matched the noise in Seattle during a Seahawk playoff game. My young eardrums had certainly never experienced anything like it. The band fired up the Wallace fight song, and the place exploded again with the sound of cheers and clapping.The player introductions were made, the National Anthem played, and the game was at last underway.
What a game it was.The score seesawed back and forth all night long. Alas, the night was not to belong to the Miners that time.The buzzer sounded and the scoreboard betrayed the local team and their fans. I don't remember the exact score, but I believe it was like 64-62 in favor of the hated Wildcats.
Now, that great rivalry is all but dead as the two towns and schools fight to even stay in existence. Wallace has shrunk to minuscule numbers and can no longer compete against larger schools. I read an article on Kellogg High School on Wikipedia, and it read that Kellogg's biggest rival for sports was St Maries! St Maries? Really? My oh my, how times have changed. The great rivalry appears to be dead. May it rest in peace, but I still bet Wallace could whup Kellogg in football any day of the week