It would be on the basketball court that the simmering Boonville-Castle rivalry would first be inflamed as the 1960s began. A 60-50 defeat of Boonville helped power the inaugural Castle basketball team to a 10-7 record and a chance to repeat Newburgh’s sectional title the season before. Boonville wasn’t about to easily allow that to happen against this upstart, especially with the sectional being played in the Pioneers’ new 4,200-seat gymnasium, a half-scale model of the University of Evansville basketball stadium.
Both teams made it through their sectional draws to meet in the Saturday night championship match, where a crowd of 3,500 spectators watched a nip-and-tuck battle and a late charge by Castle fall just short in Boonville’s 44-39 sectional championship victory.
In the following melee of a celebration, salt was added to the festering Castle wound when a group of Boonville players grabbed the Knights’ six-foot-tall paper Mache mascot from the Castle cheering section, dragged it to mid-court and speared it with its own lance. The Boonville-Castle rivalry had just kicked into high gear.
The rivalry would transfer to the gridiron as well.
Following a 13-6 loss to the Huntingburg High School Hunters, the 1-5 Knights would line up against the Pioneers, who weren’t having a glorious season either, coming in with a 1-7 record. But Boonville had a history to fall back on, having first fielded a football team way back in 1929.
An estimated 1,000 fans watched the history-making beginning of an overheated football rivalry at Boonville’s Hemenway Field. The game marked the first time in 56 years that the Pioneers would meet another Warrick County foe on the gridiron.
Boonville’s sloppiness, rather than Castle’s impressiveness, prevented the score from getting any worse than the 19-7 final. Despite two impressive touchdown runs by Pioneers sophomore Alan Per, Boonville dropped a number of passes and had two touchdowns called back because of penalties.