by Mike Pavlichko
In 2009, 15 years after one of the most legendary Phillipsburg-Easton clashes of all-time ended in a 7-7 tie – a “sister-kisser” they called it – the Stateliners and Red Rovers replayed the game.
Sure, everyone who played in it the first time was 30-years old or more. But they had to break the tie.
At the time, the coaches and players said it was worse than losing, in a game that means more to both teams than any state championship.
But this year may have been rock-bottom.
Things were looking good for a while.
Football was actually being played.
Phillipsburg got a waiver before the season to play out-of-state competition.
The game was moved to the Liners’ Maloney Stadium with Lafayette’s Fisher Field unavailable.
Bad enough, but then they were still playing.
Then the game got moved to the week before Thanksgiving to beat the impending tightening of outdoor gathering restrictions in New Jersey.
At least they were still playing.
Then, it became one more casualty of COVID-19. The game was off.
However, fifth-year Phillipsburg head coach Frank Duffy says he’s been asked by more than a few people since then if there a future meeting of the teams could be in the cards. Duffy addressed the idea Monday in an interview with Central Jersey Sports Radio.
“We have a couple coaches who’ve played in that game,” said Duffy. “It meant a lot to them. It meant a lot to them.”
“If the opportunity presents itself, I think that would be a great idea,” Duffy added. “I think we owe it to the senior class on both sides of the river to have that conversation at some point.”
Hear more of what Duffy had to say about the idea of Phillipsburg and Easton playing some other time below: