Well, it’s time for Rossview to play Clarksville High for the Warfield Shield, or as I call it, “The Warfield Game”. I’ve seen several posts online about how the whole “Warfield” thing got started, and most of them are totally misinformed. So, I thought I’d set the record straight once and for all. Here is the official story behind the Warfield Shield. You can also watch an interview by JoBeth Collins and Bailey Bashore from 2013 (it could use some more hits anyway).
The beginning stages (2008)
I was the student body president at Rossview during the 2008-2009 school year. At the time, Rossview had never beaten Clarksville High, but the rivalry was still huge. During the summer before my senior year, I had this idea… but I wasn’t sure if people would get behind it or not. After talking with a few friends and Josh Loy, the director of Young Life in Clarksville at the time, I decided to give it a shot.
The Facebook message
On May 23rd, 2008 I sent Laura Martin (the student body president at Clarksville High at the time) a message on Facebook. I explained to her that I wanted to generate more energy around the Rossview vs. Clarksville High football game, and I thought we could do that by naming the game and creating a traveling trophy. I just asked her what she thought and if she was at all interested. Thankfully she loved the idea and she wanted to talk about it more. So one day over the summer we both got a small group of people from each of our schools to meet at Starbucks (on Madison) and brainstorm ideas for what would eventually be called the Warfield Shield. The people at this meeting were: Laura Maritn, Jordan Hornback, Jamie Settle, Gavin Akins, Johnnie Combs, Elizabeth Cochran, and Amber Plunkett.
The meeting at Starbucks
The meeting lasted about three hours, and the first two and a half was spent thinking of lots of names and trophies that might be cool. We were talking about calling the game “The Gator Bowl” or “The Moose Head” (I still think it would’ve been cool to have a big moose head hanging in the winning team’s gym each year) or “931 Turf War”, but none of them really clicked with all of us. As we were about to settle on one of those names and call it a day, we got a call from Katie Snider, who happened to be the daughter of the Clarksville High coach at the time. She said she had an idea for the game, but wasn’t sure if it was any good or not but just wanted to pass it along. When she told us we all instantly knew it was the right name. She called it “Warfield”, because of Warfield Blvd. It just sounded right. Plus, we liked that it was a play on words. As soon as we had the name “Warfield”, a “massive shield that goes back and forth” was the trophy. “The Warfied Shield” just has a ring to it. There’s something special about that name.
The search for the shield
Now that we had a name, the next step was actually finding a shield. This turned out to be a lot harder than I thought it would be. I looked online constantly, but was having no luck. I wanted to be able to see it and feel it before buying it because it was going to be expensive. A few weeks before school started we were running out of time and needed to come up with something fast. Ashley Bailey, Luci Knott, and me were driving around Clarksville to a bunch of pawn shops, looking for a shield. At our last one (Pack Rats on Ft. Campbell Blvd.) another customer in the store heard that we were looking for a shield. He told us that his buddy sold shields at the flea market on Saturday mornings, but that we’d have to get there around 6:00 am if we were going to get one. We were desperate, so we listened to the guy. The next Saturday, Luci, Ashley, Johnnie Combs and me headed to the flea market. When we got there, the guy had four shields left. I bought one. All $120 worth. It was a great investment.
The design process
Once we had the shield, we needed to get the design right, and we knew just the person for the job. We took the shield to Ms. Bryant, the director of the art department at Rossview. She made a few designs and selected the one she thought was best. I couldn’t be more pleased with her work and taste. Once she designed it, she painted it. We took the shield to Sporty’s Awards in Clarksville to put the emblems on.
The approval process
Along the way, we knew that in order for this to work we would have to get it approved. Thankfully, Mr. Myers is a wise, reasonable, enthusiastic leader, and he was all about it. He paved the way to help it become official. Additionally, my stepdad, Richard McWhirter, was the athletic director for CMCSS at the time, and he helped me write a contract for the two schools to agree upon the very first year. Without this process, it would have been more difficult to get the tradition going, especially at the start.
The paw print
The night before the very first Warfield Game, a few Clarksville High students dug a giant paw print in Rossview’s field. It’s hard to admit as a Rossview student, but it was an awesome paw print. Rossview was scheduled to host the game, and there was talk it would have to be moved to CHS because of the damage to the field. But nope. Big John and the field crew got it ready. It only added more fuel to the fire. For the first time that night, Rossview beat Clarksville High, 20-7. The rest is history.
It wouldn’t have been possible without Laura Martin and her team from CHS, Frank Myers, Brian Bell, Jim Snider, Phyllis Casebolt, and the other people mentioned in this post. We also owe a huge thanks to the students who helped create the rivalry prior to 2008. There were many dedicated Rossview Rowdies and Clarksville Crazies before any of this got started. They played a huge role in making the game what it is. It’s also in large part to the class of 2009 football players at both schools. They bought in. That’s huge.
So, next time you hear debate about when the Warfield Shield actually got started, and how it happened, and who was responsible… you just send ‘em here! I think this is great for Clarksville, and I hope it creates fun, lasting memories for students at both schools for years to come.