1915 – Bitter Football Rivalry Begins

Even today, the rivalry between Follansbee and Wellsburg brings emotions to those who experienced the heated games and fans.  Some sources claim the series began in 1915, others 1917.   The brawl to settle the championship of Brooke County continued annually (except during World War I) until 1968.  In 1951, the two teams agreed to award a “Silver Saw” to the victor who kept it until the following year when it was up for grabs again.   The contest usually occurred in the final game of the season.   As the game ended fans rushed on the field and knocked the goalposts down. Team records meant nothing when it came to the rivalry. In 1959, two games were scheduled between the Blue Wave and the Orange Crushers, each team winning a contest.

There was always plenty of mischief and pre-game rallies involving  “snake dances” which were long lines of students holding hands and dancing their way through town escorted by others with drums and horns.  Fans would dance their way on the streets and even through movie theaters. There were also large bonfires and parades.

A 1922 newspaper headline said, “Wellsburg Coming to Beat Follansbee.”A week later another headline appeared, “Pep Meeting.”   Follansbee students showed up at the high school steps.  The football team rode a bus while students marched behind as town people joined singing and cheering.   “At the head of the procession two boys carried a large banner “Beat Follansbee” which was taken from Wellsburg last year.” The march proceeded down Main Street and various side streets including Allegheny Street.

  • Brooke Scene, “A bitter football rivalry,” May 24, 1997, p. 3.
  • Follansbee Review, “Wellsburg Coming …,” October 13, 1922.
  • Follansbee Review, “Pep Meeting,” October 20, 1922.