August 11, 2009

Malena keeping tabs on two teams

The cities of Cedar Hill and DeSoto adjoin each other in southern Dallas County and have always been natural rivals, whether it be on the football field or the basketball court. However, prior to the 2008 season the two schools were separated into different districts by the UIL for the first time in several years.

It didn't help that both programs also had already made commitments for non-district games and were unable to schedule one another. As a result, the "Battle of Beltline" was adjourned for the 2008 season.

It looked to be more of the same for the 2009 season as both schools had again made out non-district schedules that excluded the other school. DeSoto was scheduled to open against Midland Lee and Cedar Hill was to open against Colleyville Heritage in a repeat of the openers for the 2008 season. However, the desires of both schools to rejoin the rivalry led to an unusual arrangement.

Approximately one month ago, Lee and Heritage agreed to play each other in their 2009 opener and thus free up DeSoto and Cedar Hill to renew their rivalry.

As a result, a game between the Metroplex-area powerhouses is set for Saturday, Aug. 29 at 7:30 in Cedar Hill. It's expected to draw an overflow crowd of some 15,000 fans at Longhorn Stadium as well as a national television audience.

It's already captured the attention of players from both schools including Cedar Hill running back Ben Malena. The Rivals.com four-star runner actually was a participant in the rivalry as a sophomore and now he gets one last crack at his friends on the Eagles, some of whom he has known for years.

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