WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — A storied rivalry game between two Wichita Falls high schools is set to kick off the 2022-2023 high school football season.

The penultimate matchup between the Raiders of S.H. Rider High School and the Coyotes of Wichita Falls High School will take place on Friday, August 26, 2022, at 7 p.m. at Memorial Stadium.

Typically reserved for the final game of the football season, this year features the battle for local bragging rights during Week 1 of the season. However, when the UIL realigned districts for the 2022-2024 seasons, Rider remained in Class 5A Division 1, but Old High was moved down to Class 4A Division 2.

Because football seasons typically conclude with inter-district matchups, this required the rivalry game to take place before either team begins their slate of district games.

This isn’t the first time the rivals have been in different districts, however, it means the final meetings between the two teams will not have as much significance in terms of the post-season or either team’s standing in their respective districts.

The Penultimate Showdown

The 61st meeting of the Coyotes and the Raiders on Friday night represents the second to last time the two teams will ever play each other.

The Wichita Falls Independent School District is currently in the process of constructing two new high schools, Legacy High School and Memorial High School, which are set to be completed and open by the 2024 school year.

Once Legacy and Memorial take over as the city’s high schools, two of the three current WFISD high schools will be converted into middle schools, Rider and Hirschi. As for Wichita Falls High School, district officials have indicated it will simply be retired after standing for over a century.

The 2022-23 and 2023-24 high school football seasons represent the final two times Raiders and Coyotes will take the field against each other before the history books close on this storied rivalry.

However, before the annual matchup between the Legacy Leopards and the Memorial Mavericks takes over as Wichita Falls’ crosstown high school football rivalry, the Raiders and the Coyotes still have a few pages left to write in their history books.

The History of the Rivalry

The Coyotes and the Raiders played their first game in 1964, resulting in a 22-6 win by Rider. The Raiders were also victorious in the second meeting of these two teams, a 29-21 win in 1965.

The late 1960s and early 1970s were dominated by the Coyotes. Wichita Falls didn’t lose to Rider for eight consecutive meetings. Between 1966 and 1972, the Coyotes won six of the eight games played against the Raiders.

The other two games ended in scoreless ties.

In the middle of that stretch, the Coyotes also took home the 1969 UIL Class 4A State Title, defeating San Antonio’s Lee High School 29-20 and earning their sixth state championship in school history. The Coyotes would return to the Class 4A State Championship game again in 1971, falling short by a single point in a rematch with San Antonio Lee. 28-27.

The mid-to-late 1970s saw the rivalry swing back in the direction of the Raiders. The Coyotes won the first three matchups of the 70s, but the Raiders won the rest, winning seven consecutive matchups between 1973 and 1979.

The early-to-mid 1980s saw the Coyotes take back control of the rivalry. Wichita Falls won in 1980 and 1981, followed by two straight single-digit wins by the Raiders. The Coyotes then won the next three contests against the Raiders.

The 1987 matchup is a key milestone in the Rider-Wichita Falls rivalry. Trailing by 3 late in the fourth quarter, the Raiders kicked a field goal on the last play of the game to end the game in a tie for the third time in the history of the rivalry.

When time expired in 1987, the 31-31 final score was symbolic of the state of the rivalry; dead even. The Coyotes had 11 wins, the Raiders had 11 wins, and three games had ended in a tie.

The Turning Point

11-11-3. Up until 1987, it was a completely balanced rivalry.

Since 1988, however, the rivalry has been dominated by the Rider Raiders. Their 35-6 victory over the Coyotes in 1988 began a Rider winning streak that lasted until 1999. The Raider’s 11-game win streak of the late-80s and 90s will stand as the longest winning streak by either team in this rivalry.

Since 1988, the Coyotes have won just 7 of the crosstown rivalry contests, including four straight between 1999 and 2002. By contrast, the Raiders have won 28 of the matchups since 1988, including 17 of 20 since 2002.

Another notable trend in the rivalry began in 1988; lots of points and lopsided victories

The teams have combined for more than 50 total points in half of the games played since 1988, including the last ten straight matchups. The highest scoring game in the rivalry’s history happened in 2014, when the Coyotes defeated the Raiders 50-36, resulting in 86 total points.

Since 1988, the winning side between the Raiders and the Coyotes has won by three or more touchdowns 24 times. The game has been decided by a touchdown or less just three times in that same stretch.

The most lopsided victory in the history of the Rider-Old High Rivalry Series happened in 2012 when the Raiders shut out the Coyotes 49-0.

Only one time in the rivalry’s history has a winner been decided on the final play of the game. The 2015 matchup was tied at 21 with seconds left in the fourth quarter. Rider’s field goal as time expired propelled the Raiders to a 24-21 victory.

Rider vs. Old High Facts and Trivia

  • The series record is held by Rider (39-18-3)
  • Three games have ended in a tie (1966, 1968, 1987)
  • Eight games have ended in shutouts (1966, 1968, 1969, 1974, 1978, 1982, 1987, 2008, 2012)
  • Two games ended with neither team scoring (1966, 1968)
  • One game decided on the final play (2015)
  • Played each other twice in one season two times (1966, 2019)
  • Met in the post-season once (2019)
  • Average points scored per game — 43.1 (Rider – 25.6, WFHS – 17.5)
  • Most total points scored — 86 (2014, WFHS 50 – 36 Rider)
  • Average margin of victory — 20 points
  • Largest margin of victory — 49 (2012, Rider 49 – 0 WFHS)
  • Smallest margin of victory — 1 point (1977, Rider 14 – 13 WFHS)
  • Longest winning streak — 11 games (Rider, 1988-1998)
  • Rider has won the last 8 matchups (2015-2021)
  • Last WFHS win — 2014
  • 2,586 total points scored since the rivalry began (1,536 by Rider, 1050 by WFHS)