SHERMAN, Texas (KTEN) - You have heard people all over Texoma tell you the Battle of the Ax is the longest running rivalry in the Lone Star State, but once the ball is kicked off Friday night, each Bearcat and each Yellow Jacket will have a chance to put their imprint on the game's history.

"People ask why it's an important ball game," said Denison head coach Brent Whitson. "I'm going to give you the same answer against Crandall in Week 10, it's cause it's the next one. This is a little different because I'm an outsider. Locals jump up and down about it, and I kind of have to find some restraint."

Whitson says he has great respect for the rivalry but you can tell the Yellow Jackets mean business when it comes to this game. While Sherman leads the all time series 68-48 with eight ties, Denison has won the last 10 meetings.

"We have to take practice seriously because we all feel like we're a better team than last year," said Denison senior running back Jack Aleman. "Rolling into this week one, we're excited to see what we have."

"It's going to take us all coming together and working together just like last year," said Crowley. "We were down at half 21-6 and pulled together to get the win."

Sherman head coach Josh Aleman had nothing to do with last year's loss or any of the recent Bearcats B.O.T.A. history, making it even easier for Sherman to move on and focus on bringing the ax back.

"When it comes to talking about 10 or any number like that, we worry about each week," said Aleman. "So no the 10 hasn't been talked about and won't be talked about."

On the field both teams plan on being physical, as this fierce rivalry is often won or lost in the trenches.

"It's fun, you get to hit people without getting in trouble for it," said Sherman offensive lineman Darrian Minor. "It's really everything."

"You're first drive, if you go down and don't score it's not the worst thing ever, but you get a good identity of what they want to do to you and then get a good idea of what the four quarters are going to be like but we are going to run the football," said Whitson.

Now the time for talking is over, we're less than 24 hours until the 125th edition of this rivalry and both teams feel they'll be hoisting the ax at the end of the night.

"The whole community is behind us," said Sherman senior Joe Gionfriddo. "It's been a tough 10 years but this year it's going to change."

"I think we're very confident," said Denison senior Jack Aleman. "My three years here we haven't lost to them one time, freshman, varsity of JV and we'd like to keep that streak going."