CHURUBUSCO — Churubusco and Columbia City are separated by 10 miles of State Road 205. The students in Columbia City High School and Churubusco high school know each other well, just based on the proximity of the schools.

But they also get to see each other on the athletic fields as well, as the two schools play each other in every sport … except football. That changes in the fall of 2021 when ’Busco and Columbia City will meet on the football field for the first time.

“I’m excited about it,” said Churubusco head coach Paul Sade. “I give coach (Brett) Fox all the credit. He contacted us a couple of years ago.”

Columbia City head coach Brett Fox initially got the ball rolling by talking to Whitley County Consolidated Schools athletic director Khelli Leitch, and Sade was the AD at ’Busco at the time. Churubusco was getting ready to go through another conference rearrangement that would see the Northeast Corner Conference again divided into two divisions.

That gave the school the ability to add an opponent to its schedule for week one in upcoming years and presented as the perfect time to add Columbia City.

While ’Busco is adding CC, to do so it is losing another county rival in Whitko. But, as Sade stated, ’Busco and Whitko have been in the same sectional for football the last few years and have started facing each other in the postseason. So the possibility of playing Whitko is still there on a yearly basis. This new schedule allows Churubusco to continue to play conference rivals Garrett, Fairfield and Lakeland outside of their division.

With the new Columbia City High School under construction comes a new football field. The Churubusco-CC match will be the first game of the 2021 season and should bring lots of excitement.

“We will have some big games early in the season and I think that is good for us,” said Sade.

Churubusco and Columbia City have been on the football field together, just not in a game. The two teams have seen each other in seven-on-seven competitions and in the past the three county schools have held linemen challenges where the teams do some drills together. Stepping on to the field for real will bring a whole new level of excitement to players and fans.

This year will be the last time that Columbia City and Whitko face each other on the football field. The Wildcats had a change to their conference scheduling that required them to lose one non-conference game. Adding ‘Busco in the near future will bring about a new Eel River Rivalry for Columbia City.