The schools are separated by precisely 4.1 miles. And together, their football programs have won 10 of the last 15 Group AAA Division 5 state championships.If it's not the best rivalry in the state, well, you'll have to make a strong case for an alternative. Hampton has won 29 of the 42 games, but the Phantoms have won 11 of the last 16 -- including the last six. Some games have been blowouts, but some have been memorable.
Here are seven memorable ones.
OCT. 6, 1990: PHOEBUS 22, HAMPTON 14 The series was born on Sept. 24, 1976. Fourteen years later, the Phantoms' only "victory" had come when Hampton had to forfeit its 26-0 win in '80 for using an ineligible player.
But with surprise starter Kevin Beckner running Bill Dee's wishbone offense, the Phantoms finally broke through. Phoebus outrushed the Crabbers 234-39 and led from the moment Jon Jensen made a 37-yard field goal on the final play of the first quarter. Hampton closed the gap to 16-14 with 5:45 remaining, but the Phantoms then put it away with a 75-yard touchdown drive that was capped by Beckner's touchdown.
Dee was in his sixth season at Phoebus, which had gone from 1-9 in his first year to 8-2 in his second, third and fourth. Beating Hampton, he knew, was a major step.
"Hopefully," Dee said, "this win will give us the total respect our program has earned."
NOV. 4, 1994: HAMPTON 22, PHOEBUS 21 (OT) Mike Smith hasn't won 415 games and 12 state championships by playing it safe. Sometimes you have to take risks, even when all logic points against it. It was the ninth week of the season, and both teams came in undefeated. The Crabbers were led by an unflappable 15-year-old freshman quarterback named Ronald Curry. The Phantoms had a pretty fair sophomore running back named Antwoine Womack.
Phoebus jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the second quarter, but Hampton came back to send it to overtime. The Phantoms scored first on Womack's 10-yard run, which was followed by Josh Jones' PAT to make the score 21-14. But when Curry sneaked in from the 1, the game appeared headed to a second OT.
Instead, Smith decided to end it -- one way or another -- by going for the 2-point conversion. Why? "Because I knew we couldn't stop them," he said. No dummy, Smith put the ball in Curry's hands. He rolled ... and rolled ... and rolled ... and hit a leaping Noell Rainey in the back of the end zone.
OCT. 26, 1997: HAMPTON 15, PHOEBUS 7Pushed back to Saturday night because of rain, the game was every bit as sloppy as Darling's muddy track. The teams combined for eight turnovers and 20 penalties.
What makes this game memorable is the huge scare the Crabbers received with 8:15 remaining in the first half. Curry was returning a punt when he lost control of the ball. As he lunged in an attempt to recover it, he collided with a defender.
Curry was taken to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with a dislocated shoulder. He was to miss two or three weeks, Smith said. As it turns out, he played in the next game and threw for 226 yards.
OCT. 23, 1998: HAMPTON 10, PHOEBUS 7 There was some serious talent in this game. Carlos Campbell, Maurice Shanks and Nathaniel Adibi for Phoebus; Marques Hagans, Jarrit Green and Muffin Curry for Hampton. But the hero was a kid named Alan Johnson, a name you probably don't remember but one that was instrumental in the Crabbers' championship season.
Roughly two hours after he had missed from 29 yards, Johnson was perfect on a 25-yard field goal with 15 seconds remaining to give Hampton its eighth straight win over the Phantoms. It remains the series' lowest-scoring game since the inaugural game in 1976, a 6-0 Crabber win.
Smith called it "a championship kick." As it turns out, he wasn't exaggerating.
On the season's opening weekend, the Crabbers' 40-game winning streak had been ended by Heritage. Another loss would have put their playoff hopes in serious jeopardy.
Hampton not only made the playoffs, it whipped Phoebus 28-6 four weeks later in the Eastern Region final. And two weeks after that, the Crabbers embarrassed Amherst County 35-0 for its unprecedented fourth consecutive state title.
NOV. 26, 2004: HAMPTON 26, PHOEBUS 21 This Eastern Region final was over early -- or so everybody thought. When Tyrod Taylor threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to Todd Nolen with 9:44 remaining in the second quarter, Hampton took a 20-0 lead. Almost as bad for Phoebus was the news that Elan Lewis, its 2,000-yard tailback, was done for the night with a knee injury.
But Phoebus wasn't quite ready to go home. The Phantoms scored three touchdowns in a span of 3 minutes, 19 seconds and took a 21-20 lead at halftime. Quarterback Arron Ward had touchdown passes of 38 and 46 yards, and his 4-yard keeper put Phoebus ahead.
Yet after all that, the only scoring in the second half came when Taylor ran in from 12 yards with 2:09 left in the third quarter. He finished with 309 yards on 12 completions. Even then, the kid was pretty good. *
OCT. 21, 2005: PHOEBUS 12, HAMPTON 6To this day, Mike Smith will tell you what a terrible block in the back penalty that was that wiped out Tyrod Taylor's potentially game-winning touchdown.
With just over a minute left, Taylor fielded a punt at his 41 yard line. After a few spins, he hit the left sideline and was gone for an apparent touchdown that tied the game. All that was left was converting the PAT for the win.
Instead, the flag erased the touchdown, and the Crabbers took over in their own territory. And ran out of time.
NOV. 26, 2010: PHOEBUS 12, HAMPTON 7The Crabbers were so close so close to ending their five-game losing streak to their rivals on Ireland Street, so close to ending the Phantoms' VHSL-record winning streak, and so close to advancing to the Group AAA Division 5 semifinals.
Hampton led 7-3 with three minutes remaining. Phoebus was knocking the door, however, with a fourth-and-goal from the 6-yard line. Tight end Daquan Romero ran a drag route, the perfect pattern as the Crabbers' linebackers dropped into coverage. He caught Jordan Roby's pass at the 1 and dragged a couple of defenders into the end zone.
Touchdown. Phantoms 10, Crabbers 7 with 2:55 left.
Needing only a field goal to tie, Hampton had plenty of time. Instead, the Crabbers responded with one of the worst two-minute operations you'll ever see. Starting from their 11, they literally went backwards. On fourth-and-20 from the 1, quarterback David Watford was sacked for a safety to seal it.