Fans put rivalry on hold for "truce" tailgate

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CENTRALIA - Just 15 miles stand between two fan bases. One bleeds red, the other bleeds black. But before kickoff between rival high schools Mexico and Centralia, the colors mix.

Mike Lincoln played in the rivalry 36 years ago, only then he wore Mexico red. His wife graduated from Centralia, and their son is currently a captain on Centralia's football team.

"My husband is from Mexico," Deanna Lincoln said. "I don't admit that to everyone."

Mike has traded in red for black, but before game time, the red remains visible. Each of the past four times Mexico has faced Centralia there has been a pre-game "truce" tailgate, where both red and black mix together as one.

"We started- A good friend of mine, Andy Baker, who lives in Mexico had a tailgate party for us where we were down there one year and so we all went out and had his tailgate," Mike Lincoln said. "So the next year we felt we needed to host them up here."

Whether they wear red or black, family, friends and former classmates all come together at the tailgate.

"For me, personally, it's a wonderful thing," said Lou Mahon, Deanna Lincoln's aunt who traveled from Kentucky. "Because I get to incorporate and see all of my family, and we're able to cheer for one of my family members."

Mike Lincoln's coach from his playing days also made it to the tailgate.

"You know the rivalry is there, everybody understands that. It's not the elephant in the room," former Mexico football coach Buck Green said. "Everybody understands who is wearing red and who is wearing black. But we're all good friends. We pull for their kids, they pull for ours."

As kickoff nears, the blended colors separate to opposing bleachers.

"We have a wonderful time together and then we go out and just try to beat the heck out of the other team," Mahon said. "And it just seems that's the way to do it."

Mike Lincoln said as long as the two teams continue to play each other, the "truce" tailgate will live on.

 

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