Former Lincoln-Way guard Dave McKay wasn't a big kid.
In fact, Lincoln-Way East coach Rob Zvonar said McKay was only 155 pounds. But McKay packed a lot into every one of those pounds as an offensive lineman on the 1997 state champion Lincoln-Way team.
McKay died tragically in 2001, and later that same year the Dave McKay Gridiron Grail was created as Lincoln-Way split into Lincoln-Way Central and Lincoln-Way East.
"It's really sentimental to me," Zvonar said. "It was my first job out of college as the head freshman coach in 1994 and (McKay) was on that team as a freshman. I knew him since he was 14 or 15 (years old)."
The Griffins lost the inaugural meeting between the two schools in 2001, but they haven't lost a rivalry game to the Knights since then, winning 11 straight—including a pair of wins in 2005 as the teams also met during the postseason.
"It's a tremendous rivalry, yeah, we've had the upper hand, but we knew if we could have success against this program we would be OK," Zvonar said.
"There have been some tremendous battles, especially in the (mid-2000s)."
Heading into Friday night's contest, the two teams were heading in opposite directions. The Griffins had handed four consecutive opponents their first loss of the season while the Knights entered on a four-game losing streak.
That disparity didn't affect attendance, as both sides of the stands were jam-packed and the parking lots were completely full 15 minutes before kickoff.
"It's a big game and an important game," Lincoln-Way Central coach Brett Hefner said. "It's only my fourth game, and only my second as head coach (in the series), and it's frustrating that we can't make it score-wise as competitive as we would've liked."
As the Griffins cruised to a 42-0 lead at halftime en route to a 42-7 victory, Zvonar had an opportunity to play a lot of his roster, including many players who may not have the typical size or strength of the average football player, but work hard day in and day out during practice.
"The kid was an inspiration and showed that the little guys can do great things regardless of size," Griffins quarterback Blake Winkler said of McKay. "A lot of guys got their Dave McKay time tonight, and he's an inspiration to all the kids at Central and at East."
As for the kids at East, they'll have the trophy in their possession for yet another year.
Check out video of the Dave McKay Gridiron Grail after Friday night's game at Lincoln-Way Central.