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ARCOLA -- One of the oldest football rivalries in the state, Arcola vs. Tuscola, or the Cola Wars, is to return Aug. 31 at Tuscola. 

It is to be the first time the two teams, who have played 104 times, with the Warriors winning 54 times to Arcola 44 with six ties, have played in a regular season contest since week three of the 2006 season when Tuscola won 49-7 at Tuscola. The two teams played in the 2007 Class 1A semifinals and the 2011 Class 1A quarterfinals with Tuscola winning 48-6 and 42-7 respectively. 

To commemorate the event, the Arcola Alumni Association is sponsoring the "Football Cola Wars" special event license plates. The Illinois Secretary of State is issue the plates that may be displayed from July 3, to Aug. 31. 

The license plate idea came from Tuscola's Bruce Wood. 

"I'm not aware of this ever happening before--so, I think it must be the first time, but someone from Tuscola actually came up with a good idea," said John Fishel, the Arcola Alumni Association President. 

In addition the Tuscola Alumni Association is settling plates of their own. 

Therefore it is a Cola War of the towns on who sells the most license plates as the winner is to receive a trophy at halftime of the football game Aug. 31. 

"The contest was their idea," said Fishel. "They asked us a few weeks ago as a way to generate more interest and raise more money and we said 'we would be happy to take on that challenge.'"

To get the four-time Class 1A state champion Purple Rider Cola Wars plate an application may be picked up at Kosic & Stout, Lindenmeyer Insurance Agency or Arcola First Bank. An application and a copy of the vehicle registration must be completed and submitted back to the place the application was picked up, no later than Saturday. The cost is $25 and is payable to the Arcola Foundation-Alumni Fund.

The two Douglas County teams started the football rivalry in 1896. The two teams met every year from 1919 through 1975 and then again from 1981-2006.

The deadline is Saturday for both towns so that the state has enough time to manufacture the plates. 


Sports writer

Mike Monahan covers area sports for the JG-TC.

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