FORT MITCHELL, Ky. — Even in a deep-rooted rivalry, no trophy stands as tall as the love shown this week between Beechwood and Mayfield.
The two high schools are 320 miles apart, but share a unique rivalry.
Behind a glass wall at Beechwood High School, you’ll find proof of high school football excellence – 16 state championship trophies.
But deep in the dust, of a semi-state runner-up trophy – along with eight others – is the story of a bitter rivalry.
“The worst loss of my life was in 2011 at their place,” recalled Beechwood coach Noel Rash. “Semifinal game.”
The one team that Beechwood never could seem to beat was Mayfield.
“It crushed me,” said Rash. “I’ll get emotional now, so I’ve got to watch it.”
The two schools have faced each other nine times in the playoffs.
Mayfield was 8-0 against Beechwood until this fall.
Beechwood finally flipped the script in the state semifinals, with a 38-7 win over Mayfield.
“Every one of their fans was telling us good luck (in the state championship),” said Beechwood graduate, Brad Ratliff, who attended the game.
Just 15 days later, though, the town of Mayfield was devastated by deadly tornadoes.
Those same people who cheered-on the Cardinals in Fort Mitchell two weeks prior are now dealing with the aftermath of the disaster.
“One of the victims could be someone we played against,” said Ratliff, who played football at Beechwood in his high school days. “It could be one of their families.”
After all the times Beechwood has gone to battle on the football field against Mayfield, Beechwood fans knew it was time to go to battle for their rivals.
Ratliff donated a semi truck to carry supplies. He’s the vice president of a company called Lighthouse Transportation Services, based in Erlanger.
Staff members at Beechwood High School agreed to make the school a donation site.
“We are sending them things that will hopefully bring them a little normalcy,” said Shaun Birindelli, who works in the office at Beechwoood Schools.
Birindelli spent hours leading an effort to sort and organize the supplies that were donated.
Volunteers placed items in labeled bins before loading them onto the semi truck.
“Although they’re rivals, they’re fellow Kentuckians, and they’re awesome people. We’re going to do whatever we can do to help,” said Ratliff.
There was only one problem.
One semi truck wasn’t enough. They filled one truck with donations on Monday.
By Tuesday night, they had filled three semi trucks with donations from Fort Mitchell and the surrounding areas. All three trucks were already sent to Mayfield.
A fourth semi will be loaded-up on Wednesday at Beechwood High School.
Wednesday will be the last official day of the donation site. Anyone can drop items off.