(8-17-22) For over 100 years and 99 meetings…TFriday night will see another Defiance vs Napoleon football game…in one of Ohio’s longest running high school football rivalries.

Napoleon leads the series with a 54-43-2 edge over Defiance. What makes this game special the two neighbors are not in the same conference. For the Bulldogs, members of the Western Buckeye League, it is the only non-league game they play. Making it special during the last couple of years is playing the game on Thursday, a day ahead of Ohio’s Friday night lights.

From the 1916-17 Napoleon Yearbook – The Buckeye

1916 Napoleon Football Team

1915 marked the 1st season the Wildcats had a football team, but they did not play Defiance. The 1916 team would play them twice.

From the Crescent-News article todayNotable games from Defiance-Napoleon

The first game played in the series was on Nov. 11, 1916, a matchup that saw the teams play to a 6-6 tie. Here’s how it was described in The Crescent-News back then:

“Playing an up-hill battle against a single file touchdown which Napoleon made early in the game, and finally pushing across a touchdown of their own, only to lose the deciding goal kick when one of their players grounded the punt-out, Coach Showalter’s crew of High school footballists yesterday came home from Napoleon without a decision from Napoleon High. The score was 6 to 6.

“Defiance relied mainly on the open style of football which has brought them victory in most of their games this year. Without the help of Wissler, the season’s quarterback who is now out of the game, the open formations worked better than many of the supporters who accompanied the team expected. Defiance gained more yards than Napoleon, and it was only the failure to take advantage of scoring opportunities that prevented them from coming off victorious.”

Just 19 days later, the two teams met again on Thanksgiving Day, this time with a winning result for the Bulldogs by a 7-0 margin. In front of between 500-600 spectators at Defiance High School.

How how close are the two schools?

2021 – Defiance wins River Rock trophy with 7-0 win over Napoleon

WTOL – You Tube Video

Did you know?

Defiance has played Van Wert more times then it has Napoleon and has a record of

vs. Van Wert(55-47-4)

Defiance Overall Records up to the 1916 game

SeasonOverall RecordOffenseDefenseCoach
19010-410-2.574-18.5RH Sutphen
1902 3-3105-17.5105-17.5Harvey Stevens
1903 5-3-2180-18.0 53-5.3Lionel Shaw 
19044-2-2188-23.547-5.9Lionel Shaw
19054-3-1154-19.387-10.9Lionel Shaw
19062-356-11.120-4.0Coach Darner 
19070-30-0.0063-21.0Coach Caris  
19081-25-1.7122-40.7Glenn Rath
19093-398-16.066-11.0Glenn Rath
19104-3-1123-15.458-7.3Glenn Rath
19114-3145-20.769-9.9Glenn Rath 
19123-589-11.1116-14.5Coach Goldnetz
19138-1204-22.739-4.3F.S. Kitson
19145-4152-16.9128-14.2 F.S. Kitson
19155-5245-24.5113-11.3F.S. Kitson
1916 2-4-358-6.4126-14.0Coach Showalter