In The Beginning...
When Kickapoo opened in the Fall of 1971, the building wasn't finished due to a constuction strike. So, would-be Kickapoo students attended Glendale for the first part of the first semester of that school year. Glendale students were forced to attended classes later in the day, while the Kickapoo students went in the morning.
Friend Vs. Friend
Pershing Middle School divides its students up between Glendale and Kickapoo High Schools. Therefore, many students that are friends in elementary and middle school are split up once they get to high school. This conflict has intensified the rivalry throughout the decades.
Acting Head Coach
Glendale head coach Jack Roberts broke his hip in a fall before Christmas in December of 1977. Glendale junior varsity coach Ed Baker took over heading coaching duties for a while, but he slipped on some ice and suffered a serious concussion. So, the head coaching job fell to freshman mentor Roy Green for the rest of the varsity season. Coach Green defeated Kickapoo in his first outing 73-67, but Kickapoo got their first win ever over Glendale in the second matchup 83-67. Coach Green and Glendale won the rubber match 66-61 in the regional semifinal on their way to Glendale's first ever appearance in the state quarterfinals. Roy Green was on the sideline for every Glendale-Kickapoo varsity game between 1971 and 2009. He's also the only person who can say they coached Glendale in a losing/winning effort against Kickapoo and the same for Kickapoo.
Playing for both sides
In the early-80's, John Greene played for Kickapoo and Glendale as a varsity basketball player. Greene competed for Kickapoo against Glendale in three games during the '81-'82 season scoring 26 points. He transfered to Glendale after the '81-'82 season and scored 30 points in five games over the next two years against KHS.
Mentor Vs. Mentee
After returning from Vietnam, Roy Green was looking for a teaching/coaching position in Springfield. Glendale head coach Jack Roberts knew the family name from coaching Roy's brother at Camdenton in the 1950's. So, Coach Roberts hired Roy as one of his assistant coaches in the fall of 1971. (The same fall that Kickapoo opened). Thirteen years later, Roy Green wanted to start a program of his own and felt the long held promise of taking over at Glendale after Coach Roberts retired wasn't as sure of a thing as he once thought. So, he was hired at Kickapoo entering the '83-'84 season, setting up a series of matchups against his coaching mentor Jack Roberts. Glendale and Jack Roberts won all three games that season (83-61, 25-14, & 64-49), but Coach Green ended his 26-year career at Kickapoo in 2009 with a dominating 38-16 record against Glendale.
Father Versus Son?
Mike Keltner was hired in March of 1984 to take over the Glendale program after Jack Roberts retired following the '83-'84 season. However, instead of facing Roy Green at Kickapoo, he could've been coaching against his own father. Wayne Keltner had been a very successful head coach at Morrisville High School, but in the 1970's he was coaching at Cherokee Junior High (a Kickapoo feeder school) and twice filled out applications for the Kickapoo head coaching position before deciding against taking the job.
Rivalry Heats Up
In '84-'85, Kickapoo swept the series with Glendale for the first time since the school opened in 1971. Kickapoo players had "Southside Champs" t-shirts made up to celebrate the achievement. The next season, Kickapoo's Roy Green made some interesting comments in the Springfield News-Leader about the rivalry. "I think it's going to turn around (Glendale's long held advantage in the series) and go the other way for the next ten years or so. Kickapoo will probably go 50-0 against them. I think we've definitely got the best basketball program in town right now, looking at the next four or five years and the kids we have in our program. There's been an awful lot of talent at Glendale for a number of years, and I see it dropping off in the next two years...the way things are going to where they're going to have to work awfully hard to play with anybody. I don't know where their program will go in the future, but our's will be strong." For the record, Glendale won five Ozark conference titles (four consecutive), five 4A district titles (four consecutive), and twice went to the 4A Final Four over the next few years.
Brother Vs. Brother
Blake and Rob Will moved to Springfield in the mid-1990's from Mountain Grove, Missouri and helped Pershing Middle School to great success in the city basketball tournament. Once at Glendale, Rob (who was a year older) played quite a bit of varsity basketball and Blake became one of the few freshmen in Glendale history to play on the varsity team. However, at the end of his junior season, Rob felt he needed a change and decided to transfer to Kickapoo. The teams (and brothers) met three times during the '97-'98 season. Kickapoo was state ranked throughout the year (as high as #2) and enjoyed two solid victories over Glendale during the regular season. However, Blake out performed his bother in those two games. Rob would have the final say though as Glendale and Kickapoo met in Joplin's Kaminsky Gym to decide the 1998 Missouri Class 4A District 12 championship. The Falcons led by one-point with a little over a minute left in the game, but Kickapoo would score the last six points of the game to win 49-44 with Rob Will slamming home the basketball just as the cap gun went off signifying the end of the contest. Rob scored 13 critical points for the Chiefs, while Blake scored just four points for the Falcons.
What might have been...
Deven Mitchell attended Pershing Middle School in the late-90's and most thought he'd continue his academic and athletic career at Glendale. But Deven and his mother decided he should attend Kickapoo High School instead due to problems his older brother had at Glendale in the 90's. That choice allowed Kickapoo to have what amounted to an all-star team for the next four years and led to Kickapoo winning its first state championship in 2003. Would Glendale have won a state title instead of Kickapoo with Deven Mitchell suiting up as a Falcon? Hard to say. The most likely outcome is that neither Kickapoo nor Glendale would've had enough to win the big one.
Tournament Of Champions Champs!
Only two local teams have won the famed Bass Pro Shops Tournament Of Champions...Glendale in '94 and Kickapoo in '05. The Falcons defeated Natchez, Mississippi, #1 ranked in Missouri Class 4A St. Charles West (with future Kansas Jayhawk Ryan Robertson) and Christ the King from Middle Village, NY to become the first Southwest Missouri squad to win the T Of C. In 2005, Kickapoo upset Memphis White Station (with future Tennessee Vol J.P. Prince), Poplar Bluff, MO (with future UNC Tarheel Tyler Hansbrough), and Milwaukee, Wisconsin Rufus King to claim another crown for Southwest Missouri.
Upset Shocker and Record Breaking Rematch
Entering the '01-'02 season, very few media members thought any local team could play with the loaded Kickapoo Chiefs. They had at least three players being mentioned as NCAA Div. 1 prospects (Deven Mitchell, Spencer Laurie, and Anthony Tolliver). On January 4th, 2002, Glendale visited Kickapoo with added security as a result of the infamous "egg tossing" district championship game that look place ten months before. The Kickapoo main gym was packed to the brim (about 200-300 people were forced to listen to the game in the hallways surrounding the gym). The Chiefs proved the local media members to be correct as they had a commanding first half in route to a 31-17 halftime lead. However, Glendale had senior leadership (a fact Coach Green mentioned in post-game interviews), while the Chiefs had a lot of junior and sophomore players. That experience advantage was key to Glendale's second half comeback that saw them upset the heavily favored Chiefs 66-63. The rematch between the teams had so much hype surrounding it, Glendale decided to give up its home court and allow the game to be played at Missouri State's Hammons Student Center. In the weeks after the first matchup, Glendale had placed third at the Bass Pro Shops Tournament Of Champions and were currently ranked fourth in Missouri Class 4A, while Kickapoo had won the Coffeyville, KS Interstate Classic and were ranked third in Missouri Class 4A. Nearly 6,500 fans filled Hammons Student Center (a MSHSAA single session attendance record) to watch the Chiefs claim a close seven-point win over the Falcons.