What makes a J.T. vs. Lee game so electrifying

Known as the biggest high school football rivalry in East Texas. The John Tyler Lions and Lee Raiders face off.

TYLER - For the first time since 1989, John Tyler and Robert E. Lee Highs School missed seeing the playoffs. In their last game of the season, it meant nothing in the standings but it still had plenty of appeal for fans and players. To Bill Coates, a J.T. fan and alumnus (class of 75), the cross road rivalry is intense. 

"It's intense in a good way and the team compete against each other and there's a lot of good feelings and a big rivalry there," Coates said. 

Compared to the 1950s and 60s, the games between the two have changed to Coates, but the passion to win hasn't. Coates said "you want to be able to say 10 years from now, we got you." 

Before it was known as John Tyler, it was known as Tyler High School, which opened in 1912. Robert E. Lee High School was built in 1957 the same year - Tyler High changed it's name to John Tyler High School. Thus the catalyst of the rivalry. Lee alumnus Andy Bergfeld knows the feeling of competition all too well. He's a second generation Robert E. Lee football player. 

"Every year they get to match up it's special," Bergfeld said. "When I was a senior, I remember catching a pass and just hearing this roar." 

He described that moment as a rush of adrenalin. When both Coates and Bergfeld were asked what makes J.T. vs. Lee games so special, both said it's a game that keeps them watching and on the edge of their seats. 

© 2017 KYTX-TV


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