Triple Overtime: IR/Central soccer among best undefeated battles in sports history
There were a lot of shrugs and “I don’t know”s and “Do you only own, like, one shirt, or what’s the deal?”s in my own personal discussions about the Indian River High School and Sussex Central High School soccer teams before they faced off on Tuesday.
Both teams had taken down perennial futbol powerhouse Caesar Rodney. Both teams were undefeated, at 4-0, and off to their best starts, record-wise, in recent years. And both teams, obviously, wanted to stay “perfect.”
While only the Indians would escape with an unsullied record, after edging the Golden Knights 1-0 on a Johan Cordoba goal in the 51st minute, the game was still one for the record books. And if YouTube had shown up to film it, like I’ve been asking them to for a while now, it probably would have gone down as one of ESPN’s “Instant Classics.”
Either way, the game will most definitely go down in history as one of the Coastal Point’s Instant Classics, along with some of the other best undefeated bouts in sports history.
With that being the case, here’s a few “Battles of the Unbeatens” that might stack up to the one we saw on Tuesday:
Harvard vs. Yale ‘Battle of the Giants’
Leave it to the Ivy League to come up with a better name for when two undefeated teams square up, but considering that these guys have been going helmet-to-helmet since before helmets even existed (for football purposes, at least — I’m pretty sure Genghis Khan and the non-NFL-affiliated Vikings had already been using them for warmongering purposes), they’ve certainly had time enough between secret “Skull & Bones” meetings and arguing about who invented Facebook to come up with something.
While there’s been plenty of Instant Classic-type matchups on the gridiron between the two Ivy League adversaries since 1875, the “Battle of the Giants” went down in 1909, when 8-0 Yale and 8-0 Harvard battled for the NCAA championship.
The Bulldogs would win the battle, 8-0, but arguably, Harvard won the war in terms of eventually enrolling Mark Zuckerberg, while Yale eventually became responsible for unleashing George W. Bush onto the world.
Minnesota Lynx vs. Los Angeles Sparks
The 12-0 Lynx and 11-0 Sparks met last summer, in a game that marked the first time that two undefeated teams with at least 10 wins had played each other — not only in the WNBA, but including the NBA, NHL, NFL and MLB as well.
Interesting enough, being a WNBA game, there were still about as many fans in attendance as the two teams had combined losses (goose egg).
(JK — if you’re reading this, Elena Delle Donne.)
The Fight of the Century
Someone's "0" has got to go.
Also known as just “The Fight,” “The Fight of the Century” went down in 1971 between 26-0 “Smokin’ Joe” Frazier and the boxer formerly known as Cassius Clay, a 31-0 Muhammad “The Greatest” Ali.
In the first time two undefeated boxers fought each other for the heavyweight title, Frazier would eventually win, via unanimous decision, after 15 rounds.
Ali would eventually win the title in both 1980 and 1981, before retiring with a 56-5 record — which was clearly good enough for Will Smith to star in a movie called “Ali.”
Indian River vs. Caravel (2011 state championship)
It’s a team that, just hearing about it, makes you wish you were around to see (that is, if you weren’t there to).
The 2011 Indian River High School football team was one for the history books, led by Gatorade State Offensive Player of the Year Jamie Jarmon and featuring an array of talent that would go on to star at the next level.
After cruising through the regular season a perfect 10-0, however, they’d meet their match in the state championship game against also 10-0 Caravel.
Despite the media hype, the Indians would roll the Bucs 35-13, staying perfect and giving the 1972 Miami Dolphins a reason to cork the champagne.
Unfortunately for me, the Coastal Point sports reporter in 2011 was Ryan Saxton, so I missed the game and only get to hear stories about it from Krash.
Well — they’re you have it. Legendary teams, legendary boxers and two teams from the WNBA that have all played their part in sports history’s “Battles of the Unbeatens.”
With Sallies and Charter already taking losses on the year, the Indians won’t get another regular-season undefeated duel on the schedule. They could very well see a one-loss Central team in the Henlopen Conference championship, however, which, one-loss or no, should still end up another Coastal Point Instant Classic.