COLUMBIA — Five hundred burgers, 300 Johnsonville bratwursts and 1,000 hot dogs.
These are the supplies that Desie Brennan, concessions chairwoman of the Hickman High School PTSA, has gathered to stock the concession stand at Friday's Class 6 District 3 semifinal football game against Rock Bridge High School. For a normal game, Brennan said she usually buys about 200 burgers, 100 brats and "a couple hundred" hot dogs.
Brennan said she wants to be prepared for the larger-than-normal crowd. It's a challenge that Hickman Athletic Director Doug Mirts said he is dealing with, too.
Mirts said he expects a crowd of between 6,000 and 8,000 people at Friday's game. About 3,500 seats are normally available. So Columbia Parks and Recreation is loaning Hickman extra sets of bleachers. As of Tuesday afternoon, Mirts said, at least 18 sets had been delivered, increasing the number of available seats to 5,000.
The last time the two teams met was Sept. 21, and it was in front of 15,000 people at MU's Memorial Stadium. Hickman rallied late in the game to beat Rock Bridge for the first time since 2008. Hickman fans rushed the field after the game.
Mirt said he expects Friday's turnout to rival that of a game played at Hickman in 1994, when about 9,000 people watched Hickman and Rock Bridge play each other for the first time in 13 years. KOMU-TV called it "the game of the century."
Advance tickets for Friday's game are being sold at both the Rock Bridge and Hickman athletic department offices between 7:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m through Thursday and from 7:30 a.m. to noon on Friday.
Mirts said about 1,000 tickets have been sold so far at Hickman. Rock Bridge athletic director Jennifer Mast did not immediately return a call asking how many tickets they had sold so far.
Even with the extra bleachers, more tickets will be sold than there are seats available, Mirts said.
With so many more people gathering around the field's edge and the stadium's concourse area, Mirts said more police officers than usual will be on hand. He said that officers will be stationed at all of the entrances and exits, with six to eight additional officers at strategic spots inside the stadium.
Mirts said that despite the heated rivalry and larger-than-normal crowd, his past experience tells him that fans will remain respectful.
"We have had very good crowds with behavior, even at the Providence Bowl," Mirts said. "We hope the kids and the fans continue that for this game."
Bruce Whitesides, Columbia Public Schools athletic director, said that in 2003, problems with parking and seating led the teams to change the venue for the cross-town matchup to MU's Faurot Field.
Despite the logistical concerns, Whitesides said the mood at the district administrative building is upbeat.
"We're pretty excited. It's not often you get two teams from the same town in a district playoff game."
Supervising editor is Elizabeth Brixey.