Ferndale and Lynden. Lynden and Ferndale.
Need you say anything more in Whatcom County during football season?
The two schools are only separated by about 14 miles, but on game night they share one common goal - beat the other.
Both teams might be wearing yellow, but make no doubt about it, you are either blue or green on Friday, Oct. 19, at Rollie DeKoster Field in Lynden.
"It's a rivalry," Lynden coach Curt Kramme said in a phone interview. "We like to win, and they like to win. It usually brings out the best in both teams, both schools and both communities."
This absolutely is not a Hatfields and McCoys type of feud, though.
Some have even have described it as a friendly rivalry - if by "friendly" you mean you'll extend a hand to help up an opponent after planting him to the ground with a hit hard enough cause snot bubbles.
"I think we both have a lot of respect for each other's program," Ferndale coach Jamie Plenkovich said in a phone interview. "Obviously, we have a ton of respect for them and how they go about doing things - not just what they've won, but how they've done it. They are a class program, and that starts with the leadership at the top."
Lynden shares that level of respect for the Golden Eagles, especially this year, as Ferndale (7-0, 5-0 NWC 2A/3A) enters as the fourth-ranked team in Class 3A.
"We like playing Ferndale, because they are a high-caliber team," Kramme said. "It's getting to be that time of year when you want to be playing teams like that to prepare for the postseason. You need to play quality opponents like Ferndale."
Lynden, which has won the past three meetings in a series that Ferndale leads 6-5 over the past 11 years, is no slouch, itself.
The Lions (6-1, 5-0) enter as the second-ranked team in Class 2A, having won six straight since a Week 1 loss at Class 1A No. 1 King's. In fact the closest anybody has gotten to Lynden since then is 27 points in last week's 34-7 victory at Burlington-Edison.
"The level of play is going to be a whole lot different this week," Kramme said. "We've had the running clock in five of our last six games. We know that's not going to happen this week, we're quite certain."
After a down year in 2011, Ferndale has been every bit as impressive as the defending 2A state champs so far this year, as the Golden Eagles' average margin of victory is 37.8 points.
"We're excited about this year's game," Plenkovich said. "You always get excited when two teams like this meet. You get challenged in every part of the game - offense, defense, the little chess matches between the coaching staffs. You've got to come ready to play and ready to make adjustments. It's just a great match up."
Even greater this year, because the game actually means something.
OK, it always means something when you're talking Ferndale and Lynden. But for the past six years that something was basically just bragging rights and a conference title with the teams in different classifications.
The game hasn't even been scheduled in the second half of the season since 2005, when both teams were members of the Northwest League.
But this year, it's back in mid to late October, and bragging rights are only part of the spoils for the victor. Under the new playoff agreements for both 2A and 3A, the outcome of Friday's game directly impacts each team's playoff picture.
Lynden can lock up at least a share of the top 2A seed into the Northwest District playoffs with a win, while Ferndale would likely get to host a 3A crossover playoff game if it wins.
"I don't know if that changes anything - both schools already really wanted to win," Kramme said. "But it certainly makes things a little more interesting."
More interesting than a game that has tickets go on sale on Monday at both schools, forces the host school to import bleachers to accommodate the increased demands for tickets and sees fans start to arrive before the teams do so that they can cheer or boo during warm-ups?
"The thing that always sticks out for me is the atmosphere," Plenkovich said. "It's an electric atmosphere. I think that's the reason it's been such a good rivalry over the years. Both teams are traditionally real good football teams. The two communities are pretty passionate about high school sports and football in particular. It's a great atmosphere to be a part of."
Neither coach wants his team delving too deep into that atmosphere, though.
Kramme and Plenkovich both said they try to treat Ferndale-Lynden just like any other week during the season.
Not as easy as it sounds, though.
"Everybody knows what's on the table this week," Plenkovich said. "We try to keep it as normal as we can, but yeah, you can feel things are a little different. Every one of our guys knows we're getting ready to play the best team on our schedule."
Reach David Rasbach at email@example.com or 360-715-2286.
RECENT SERIES HISTORY
Year Site Winner Score
2011 Lynden Lynden 27-7
2010 Ferndale Lynden 35-21
2009 Lynden Lynden 31-0
2008 Ferndale Ferndale 41-6
2007 Ferndale Ferndale 17-3
2006 Lynden Ferndale 28-21
2005 Ferndale Ferndale 62-14
2004 Lynden Lynden 26-6
2003 Lynden Ferndale 26-14
2002 Ferndale Lynden 30-12
2001 Ferndale Ferndale 7-0
Reach DAVID RASBACH at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 715-2271.