"Anytime you can win the first game, it sets the tone for the season," Riverside head coach Scot Koranda said.
The opening contest pitting the Cyclones against the Mustangs will carry a little more meaning. After more than 30 years playing each other in the Delaware Valley League, they go their separate ways once the season concludes.
"This may be the last time we play Riverside for a while," D-West head coach Nick Fuemmeler said.
At the end of this season's scheduling cycle, both programs will dive into matchups with their new conferences. Doniphan West will play in the Twin Valley League, while Riverside joins the Big Seven.
"Unless the state works something out, or we line up perfectly in non-conference schedules and stuff like that, this very well could be the last time we ever play Doniphan West or Troy this year," Koranda said.
"For me it's more discouraging because I'm not sure it had to happen the way things kind of went down," Fuemmeler said. "But there's nothing we can do about it."
So when the teams line up on Friday, they do it with a lot at stake.
"Throw Riverside into the mix, and they'll be ready to go," Fuemmeler said of his team. "It's been a really good game the last three years, and hopefully it'll be a really good game again."
Two of the last three meetings between Riverside and Doniphan West have been decided by seven points or less -- 32-27 Cyclones in 2012 and 34-28 in 2010 in favor of Wathena before the merger.
With everything on the line Friday, both teams are ready to come out firing.
"It's just a pride thing," Koranda said. "You're going to take those bragging rights with you, because they could last for a long time."