(KTEN) – Turf fields and cheering fans… the high school football season is just about to begin. Every season brings the annual tradition of the Battle of the Ax (BOTA) between Sherman and Denison. 

The longest-running high school football rivalry in the Lone Star State will kick off its 125th meeting at historic Bearcat Stadium in downtown Sherman, Texas at 8:00 PM. The series has had some notable weather extremes with the highest high temperature on the date of the game at 100° on September 14, 1984 and the lowest high temperature on the date of the game at 43° on November 10, 2000. In 1957, even a “trace” of snow was reported on the day BOTA was played.

BOTA weather extremes stretching back to 1901

As the summer of 2023 rolls on, the annual tradition will not be safe from the heat. In fact, this year looks to take the trophy of “hottest BOTA ever”.

August 25, 2023 could be the hottest BOTA ever

Kickoff for the game has been pushed back to 8 p.m. due to the dangerous heat. Going back in history, BOTA had some peculiar years. Since 1912, five meetings have not been played; 3 of which were during World War 1.

Back in 1901, the third ever known match between the Bearcats and Yellow Jackets was forfeited by the Yellow Jackets due to the weather conditions being “too cold”. The following is my best guess at the meteorological setup leading to the forfeit of the game based on climatological data from around Texoma.

The date is December 13, 1901 and temperatures were in the mid to upper 60s across Texoma.

The weather setup on the afternoon of December 13, 1901

A wonderful mid-December day was quickly changed as a potent cold front moved through, plummeting temperatures rapidly as sunset neared. By the time the game was set to be played (assuming it was near sunset), snow was most likely falling. A brisk breeze more than likely accompanied this cold front, bringing a possible wind chill as low as the single digits.

A cold front led to the forfeit of the third known BOTA ever

The next morning, the low temperature at Durant, Oklahoma’s weather observing station was 11° and there was 2.0” of snow on the ground in Paris, Texas.

Accumulated snowfall was observed on the morning of December 14, 1901

As the Sherman Bearcats and Denison Yellow Jackets take the field for another historic running of the Battle of the Ax, make sure to stay hydrated with temperatures likely staying in the triple digits until around 8 p.m.

Temps will hover in the triple digits through around 8 PM

Be safe and enjoy the game!