When communities grow to the point of having two high schools, athletic team rivalries can easily get out of hand. Exuberant students often see the games as a rite of passage. Their parents sometimes get in on the act and recent graduates use the opportunity to come back and trash the other schools.

The opening of Norman North High School 10 years ago presented such an opportunity. We've seen some ugly incidents over the years. Paint on buildings. Vehicles damaged. Fights at the shopping mall. A few readers have blamed the newspaper for promoting the game out of proportion to other games.

We're happy to report this year's "Crosstown Clash" played at Owen Field came off with few problems Thursday night. Norman police and school officials say the furor never materialized.

The students were warned ahead of time what kind of behavior was unacceptable. Athletic director Frank Thompson got the word out early that rowdiness wouldn't be tolerated. Principals shared the rules.

Still, the school spirit showed by both sets of students and fans was strong. Someone sold a lot of orange, silver and green body paint Thursday and we're sure there was plenty of scrubbing late Thursday night.

Friendly, healthy rivalries are good for the community. The teams and coaches would be honored to see such fan support for the rest of their games.

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