The spotlight will shine a little brighter, a little more national, at the annual Aberdeen-Hoquiam football game tonight at Stewart Field.
The Great American Rivalry Series, a national high school program sponsored by the United States Marines, will feature the 107th renewal of the rivalry online and on-site with festivities before, during and after the game.
Online, the game will be featured and broadcast on its website — greatamericanrivalry.com — from Stewart Field and will be featured on its sister site, iHigh.com.
Before the game, students from both Aberdeen and Hoquiam will compete in the Rivalry Series United State Marine Corps Chin-Up Challenge. The school that finishes with the most chin-ups will earn a Chin-Up Challenge trophy, to be presented to school representatives at halftime.
At halftime, one alumnus from each of the two schools— Aberdeen’s Mark Bruener and Hoquiam’s Rob Smith — will be honored with induction into the Great American Rivalry Series Hall of Fame for their contributions on and off the field to the Aberdeen-Hoquiam game.
A three-year starter at tight end and linebacker at Aberdeen, 1991 grad Bruener owns school records in receptions, reception yards, tackles for losses and blocked kicks. He was a three-year starter at tight end at the University of Washington, with a touchdown reception in the 1992 Rose Bowl that helped the Huskies claim a share of the 1991 national championship.
Bruener went on to a 14-year NFL career at tight end (nine years with the Pittsburgh Steelers and five years with the Houston Texans) and played in Super Bowl XXX with Pittsburgh against the Dallas Cowboys. He will be represented by his parents, Fred and Arlene Bruener.
Smith, a 1975 Hoquiam grad who was also a three-year starter at the University of Washington, led the Grizzlies to a come-from-behind win in the 1972 game, 21-14, and led the team in rushing in the final Thanksgiving Game in 1973.
At Washington, Smith helped the Huskies as a running back in UW’s upset win over Michigan in the 1978 Rose Bowl. As head football coach at Western Washington University for 17 years, Smith finished as the school’s winningest coach with 109 wins. After a short stint as athletic director at Grays Harbor College, Smith moved on to Humboldt State University as the head football coach in 2008.
Following the contest, the winning team will be presented the Great American Rivalry Series Championship trophy by the U.S. Marine Corps. The game’s most valuable player will also be honored by the Marines and one student-athlete from each school will be given a college scholarship.
For more information on the game and to see the list of game featured in the rivalry series, visit www.greatamericanrivalry.com