They’ve combined for six state championships since 1993.

They’ve met nine times since 2002, including once in the playoffs.

Six of those meetings, including each of the last five, have been decided by four points or less.

Seven of the nine head-to-head battles have come down to the final minutes of regulation or overtime.

The average score is 24.4 to 24.2.

Stephenville and Aledo don’t have one of those age old rivalries like the Yellow Jackets have with Brownwood.

What they do have is a new, budding rivalry between two of Texas’ marquee 4A football programs.

The 10th chapter in the Aledo-Stephenville rivalry will be written Friday night at Bearcats Stadium, and, on paper at least, it promises to be as exciting as each of the last five.

Two of the state’s most heralded backfields will share the same turf, as Stephenville returns Texas Sports Writer’s Association honorable-mention all-state picks Connor Washington at quarterback and James Myles at running back. Aledo counters with MaxPreps National Sophomore of the Year and multiple All-State honoree Jonathan Gray at running back and highly-touted quarterback Matthew Bishop.

The Jackets return four starters on the offensive line, the Bearcats have two to go with some large bodies moving up from the JV.

Stephenville returns eight starters on defense, nine if you count Dominick Jokel, who started every game in 2008 but suffered a season-ending knee injury in the 2009 opener. Aledo has seven starters back on its stop unit.

Both teams have the ability to be electrifying on special teams, with Gray returning kicks for Aledo and Stephenville droping Myles and Aiavion Edwards back deep.

The programs are eerily similar, running a lot of the same packages at each other offensively.

Both have stability, with coaching changeovers rare for each staff.

And both programs draw large, rowdy crowds. More than 30,000 fans gathered at Cowboys Stadium for last November’s epic playoff duel, and in regular season meetings the past eight seasons Bearcat Stadium in Aledo and Tarleton Memorial Stadium in Stephenville have always been packed.

Friday’s 7:30 p.m. showdown won’t be the last game of either team’s season; that will be saved for the first weekend in December, when the teams could very well meet again in the 4A Division II state quarterfinals.

The last two meetings - and tonight’s game, as well - came in non-district games, meaning both could still win district championships regardless of the outcome.

But from 2002 - 2007, the teams shared a league. The Jackets won the first meeting between the two schools to help secure a district title in 2002. Aledo returned the favor, keeping Stephenville out of the playoffs for the first time in 14 years in 2003.

In 2004, weather forced their district meeting to conclude on a Saturday, and Stephenville won 38-35.

The Jackets won in 2005 on a late touchdown pass, kicking off the current run of five straight games that have all been decided by less than a touchdown.

Friday’s meeting won’t impact district standings or the playoff picture in any way.

Nobody will go home, both teams will play the next Friday.

And if everything shakes out like it did last year, it won’t be the last time this year fans get to watch two of the state’s best go head-to-head.