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Ft. Mitchell, Pikeville Mayors Make Friendly Wager Before Football Champioship

Before the Beechwood Tigers and Pikeville Panthers take the field in Friday's Kentucky High School Class 1A football state championship game in Lexington, the mayors of those schools' respective cities are making a friendly wager.

The losing team's city will host the winning team's city officials, such as the mayor and other key staff, for a taste of local food, a tour of the town, and a discussion centered around city government best practices.

Ft. Mitchell Mayor Jude Hehman and Pikeville Mayor Jimmy Carter made the arrangement on Thursday.

“Although our cities are located at opposite ends of Kentucky, we have a lot in common with the City of Pikeville,” said Hehman. “Fort Mitchell and Pikeville are of similar size and facing a lot of the same issues with regard to taxes, funding, growing volunteers and rising pension costs. Our friendly wager will lead to a visit for us together in one of our communities, where we will put our school rivalries aside, while we get to know one another and share ideas. No matter what happens on the football field tomorrow, it’s a win/win for our cities.”

Beechwood and Pikeville have faced off several times during the past decades in Class A playoff and state championship match-ups. The most recent state championship where the two teams went head-to-head was in 2015, with Pikeville winning 42-28.  “I was a student at Beechwood and remember cheering at the school pep rallies to beat Pikeville. I feel confident our Tigers will bring home the championship this year, but if not, I will look forward to hosting Mayor Carter and his team to the best fried chicken in the state at Greyhound Tavern, followed by a trip to Graeter’s for the world’s best ice cream,” Hehman said.

"The two teams are worthy opponents and have clashed many times in the past and both have worked hard to prepare for this game," said Carter. "So many good things are happening in Pikeville this year and we can add this state championship game to the list. 

"Since the Panthers will obviously win, I look forward to hosting Mayor Hehman in Pikeville after the game. We'll tour our new industrial park, discuss common concerns, talk about how the eastern Kentucky economy is turning around, and then visit the new Dueling Barrels Brewery and Distillery. Hail Pikeville!"

Beechwood had won 13 state titles while Pikeville has won 4.

Beechwood is moving up to Class 2A next season, meaning this could be one of the last times the Tigers and Panthers meet.

Both teams are 11-2 this season.

-Michael Monks, editor & publisher