The annual Battle of the Piney Woods has taken on added significance for Stephen F. Austin University and Sam Houston State Unversity.
It's now a Western Athletic Conference game between the two longtime rivals.
The Lumberjacks and Bearkats have squared off 95 times, and 2020 marked the first year since 2009 that they didn't face each other inside NRG Stadium. After the 1-year hiatus due to COVID-19, the rivalry will be back at NRG Stadium this autumn.
On Friday, the two universities were part of a 5-school contingent that joined the WAC. Along with Abilene Christian, Lamar University and Southern Utah University, SFA and SHSU are now a part of the WAC. All five of those schools, along with current WAC members Tarleton State and Dixie State, will compete together in football.
2022 is the beginning of conference play for those seven institutions.