North Central College - Naperville, IL

Crosstown Classic high school football rivalry played at North Central

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Crosstown Classic high school football rivalry played at North Central

Contact: Ted Slowik, Director of PR and Media Relations, 630-637-5307, tjslowik@noctrl.edu

Sept. 27, 2010—Naperville’s proud tradition of high school football reaches a milestone this year when the Naperville Central Redhawks face the Naperville North Huskies Oct. 1 in the 10th annual Wes Spencer Crosstown Classic at North Central College.

The showdown begins at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 1, at North Central’s Benedetti-Wehrli Stadium, 455 S. Brainard St., Naperville.

Naperville North (3-2) and Naperville Central (3-2) high schools first faced each other in varsity action in 1975 and have played their annual rivalry game on North Central College’s field since 2000. In 2001, the match was named in honor of Wes Spencer (1921-2001), who taught and coached at both Naperville Community Unit School District 203 high schools for 32 years and was inducted into the Illinois High School Football Coaches Hall of Fame in 1985. He played football at North Central College and earned his degree in 1943.

The Spencer family heritage continues at North Central. Wes Spencer’s son, Rick Spencer, is the College’s vice president for institutional advancement. “My time here at North Central has been a blessing in appreciating the impact my dad had in the community,” he says. “Since coming to North Central in 1981, hundreds of his former students have told me how much of an influence and inspiration he was in their lives.”

Among the many student-athletes coached by Wes Spencer was Harry Kalas (1936-2009), the legendary voice of NFL Films and Philadelphia Phillies radio broadcaster.

Rick Spencer’s two sons—Brad and Tyke—are assistant football coaches for North Central’s Cardinals. Both played wide receiver for Naperville Central in high school and North Central in college, and Brad played on the undefeated 1999 Naperville Central squad that won the Class 6A IHSA championship.

Though the players from Naperville North and Naperville Central will be rivals when they take the field for the Crosstown Classic, many are friends dating back to their days playing together in Naperville’s youth football league.

“The rivalries in Naperville are wonderful,” Spencer says. “The Crosstown Classic is a special game—played on a college field in front of 10,000 people with lots of excitement. The players all know each other, and it’s a very healthy rivalry.”

Tickets for the Wes Spencer Crosstown Classic are available this week in the athletic office at Naperville Central. A limited number of tickets will be sold at Benedetti-Wehrli Stadium after 4 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $6/adults, $4/students in grades one through 12. For information about parking, visit https://cardinalnet.northcentralcollege.edu/student-life/parking-campus or http://www.naperville.il.us/downtownparking.aspx.

The intensity remains high next week when two Naperville/Aurora high schools in Indian Prairie High School District 204 battle at Benedetti-Wehrli Stadium. The Neuqua Valley Wildcats and the Waubonsie Valley Warriors play at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 8, at North Central College.

09-27-2010