QUINCY -- It turns out the shelf life of the Quincy High School-Quincy Notre Dame football rivalry will be quite short.
There will be a one-year hiatus before the schools renew the crosstown series in 2020. They agreed to a two-year contract calling for a home-at-home series in Week 1 with the game to be played at Advance Physical Therapy Field in 2020 and at Flinn Stadium in 2021.
"It was something I was hoping we'd get done, even when the last series ended," QND coach Jack Cornell said. "Any chance we get to play QHS, we should take full advantage of. I love playing them, and I know they feel the same way. It's great for the town and great for the sport."
The series was put on hold following last October's meeting because the expansion of the Western Big Six Conference forced QHS to play a conference game Week 9 beginning in 2019.
A date change was further made necessary with the Illinois High School Association member schools voting to pass a proposal this week for district scheduling beginning in 2021.
Schools will have either one or two open dates under the district format, which will place teams in an eight- or nine-team district with the IHSA setting the schedule. The IHSA has not publicly stated which weeks during a nine-week season will be the open dates, but it is believed it will be Weeks 1 and 2.
The QHS and QND coaches began talking about the series renewal once the IHSA district vote passed. A contract was signed once the athletic directors agreed to terms.
"I probably like this game more in Week 1 than in Week 9," QHS coach Rick Little said. "You have to be careful. You don't want it to be the highlight of your season. It's something we've talked about with our players a lot. Week 9 always feels like it's the crescendo, like it's the peak. I don't like that for either team.
"I want both of us to have success in the postseason. You don't want that game to be the highlight and the next week almost be a letdown. So I think Week 1 is good."
It adds a new dimension to the offseason and the preseason knowing that game is looming.
"I'm excited to see what it's like Week 1," Cornell said. "We had to wait until the end of the season the last couple of the years for all the hype. With it being Week 1, I think it will give both of these teams a little extra juice in the offseason as far as how we prepare and how we go about doing things. I'm excited to see how that pays off."
QHS and QND renewed the series in 2015 after 36 years on the shelf. The Blue Devils have won each of the last four meetings, although the halftime lead has never been more than 28-7.
The 2017 game was the closest. It wasn't decided until Jirehl Brock scored on a 14-yard run with 14 seconds remaining in regulation to give the Blue Devils a 34-29 victory.
"The Raiders have had really good teams and great tradition," Little said. "I hope it's not on my watch, but at some point, we may be on the short end of it. It's a competitive ballgame. The one in 2017 was extremely competitive. It was an instant classic, so to speak."
The boys basketball series will continue two more years as well, with QND serving as host in 2019 and QHS getting the game in 2020.