Battle of the Ravine
"There is a small town in southern Arkansas, where two rivers meet, with a highly traveled scenic highway, and two institutions of higher learning are within a stone’s throw of one another. This town is Arkadelphia, Ark. and one day each year it plays host to the most unique sporting event in intercollegiate athletics." - Troy Mitchell, HSU sports information director
It’s the most anticipated game on the schedule to the alumni, boosters, and fans when Henderson State meets Ouachita Baptist on the football field. There are not many rivalries as old or rich in tradition as the Henderson State vs. Ouachita Baptist “Battle of the Ravine.” It is the oldest rivalry among current NCAA Division II institutions. The first game played between the two institutions was in 1895 when then Ouachita College beat Arkadelphia Methodist College, 8-0 on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28. The second meeting between the two institutions did not occur until 1907 in the first sanctioned game of the series. The Reddies beat the Tigers and went on to claim the Arkansas State Championship.
The Reddies went on to win the next six meetings. The game was traditionally played on Thanksgiving, and both teams made it their homecoming game. The series discontinued in 1951 after Henderson State won 54-0 and the pranks that went along with the series got out of control.The series did not resume until 1963 with the Reddies winning 28-13. The series continued uninterrupted until 1993 because of Henderson State’s move to the NCAA Division II Gulf South Conference.
After a three-year hiatus, the series began again in 1996 as OBU moved to the NCAA Division II Lone Star Conference. OBU joined the GSC in 2000 and an eight-year GSC schedule had already been put into place. GSC schools do not play everyone in the league due to the number of teams. Henderson and OBU did not play in 2004 or 2005 because the two institutions rotated off the conference schedule. The series began again in 2006 with Henderson winning the first two years, OBU winning the next two years and Henderson winning again in 2010. Of the 84 meetings, the game has been decided by a touchdown or less 37 times with OBU having the advantage in the close games 19-12-6.
History of Scores
Battle of the Ravine Memories
"I am a Henderson Reddie from the year of 1976. I was at Henderson when we were on top in football, basketball and baseball. At that time OBU was on our yearly list of teams to play. They were always our biggest rival. One year, the week before the game the usual tricks were being played: we painted their tiger red and they put purple dye in our fountain. At that time I lived in Turrentine and all the girls in the dorm bought tons of marshmallows and stayed up all night painting red HSU and GO REDDIES! on them.
Henderson had a student that was a pilot and who had a small airplane. After the marshmallows were painted we put them into large plastic bags. This guy and a couple of his friends loaded them into the plane, and the next afternoon at 1:30 he circled our campus to signal us that he was about to make the "drop". Our professors knew about it and when they heard the plane they let us go out and watch. He flew over OBU and his friends cut open the bags and started dropping the marshmallows all over the OBU campus! It was so funny! They had marshmallows everywhere! It was one of the best tricks that I remember during that time! I have many great memories at HSU, but this stands out in my mind a lot."
-Suzanne Reynolds ('76)
"My favorite memory of past Battles of the Ravine between HSU vs. OBU happened in the fall of 1997. I attended HSU from that fall through winter of 2001. I had found out about the Battle of the Ravine on short notice, but still had time to get tickets to the game. I attended the football game with my parents, which that year happened to be held on campus of OBU. I had only been at HSU long enough to move my things into my dorm room. I hadn't yet met anyone.
We sat on the second row from the top of the visitor bleachers. There was a gentleman behind me with his wife who happened to be really enthusiastic and really into the game. Everyone was into the game but he and his wife seemed to be really into it. Of course being a freshman, I didn't really understand the big rivalry at that point.
However, he was also quite friendly. I was trying to follow the game but he would talk to me frequently so I turned my attention from game to the gentleman. After the game, we had a planned event that we attended and the staff member introduced the gentleman who had sat behind me at the game as being President of Henderson State University, Dr. Charles Dunn. That would be my favorite memory of HSU vs. OBU Battle of Ravine from past years."
-Alison Haynie (F.S. '01)