CORNWALL, Ontario - There are plenty of stories about Barry Smith that nearly any local football fan can recite by rote.
Most of them involve his on-field exploits as both a high school player and coach. He was a star player in high school and a contributor to an EOSSA Championship team that also won the prestigious Edwards Cup, not to mention building powerhouse Cornwall Wildcat teams that tore up the field in the 1990s as a coach.
Smith, who succumbed to a cancer battle in 2005, also helped resurrect minor football in the city when the league folded.
It's for that reason, and so many others, that high school rivals Cornwall Collegiate and Vocational School and St. Lawrence High School will meet on the football field Thursday in Smith's name.
"We all played for him," said current CCVS football coach Chris Sullivan, who has a slew of assistant coaches who played for Smith. "He was a very big part of all of our lives."
The Upper Canada Bowl will take place at Joe St. Denis Field at 7 p.m. The Barry Smith Cup will be awarded to the winner.
Sullivan and many others believe that if it wasn't for Smith's devotion to minor football and its players, there would be no such game today.
"We certainly tell our players about Barry's guidance," said Sullivan. "I know I'm really proud to have taken Barry's spot here at CCVS."
Across the field the sentiments are similar.
Shawn Lauzon, head coach of St. Lawrence, said rekindling a football rivalry that was one of the fiercest in the city would make Smith proud.
"This really is our attempt to revive that rivalry that ran from the 1950s to the 1980s," he said. "I bump into guys who I played with 30 years ago and they still talk about the games."
Both coaches agreed their players are building personal character through experiences like high school football.
"You had to earn the jersey back then," said Lauzon.