Spirits high at Harvest Bowl
On Friday, Gridley High School participated in the fourth annual Harvest Bowl against rival Live Oak High School. Every year, the two teams battle it out on football field for the title of Harvest Bowl champion.
"I look forward to the Harvest Bowl because there is a lot of school spirit shown. It's also exciting to see the tension between these two small towns that compete for the winning title," said GHS senior Romney Pratt.
The Thursday before the big game, both teams' players meet in the hosting team's town for a preparation dinner. This year, the dinner was held at the LOHS cafeteria.
During this yearly ritual, the players from each team are united with their soon-to-be opponents at the following night's game. But instead of battling it out on the football field, the teams show their sportsmanship and appreciation for their rivalry and personify this respect in a night filled with laughs and friendship.
"The Harvest Bowl has always been a way to bring our towns together and settle our differences out on the field," said GHS senior Jose Torres. "We train all summer for this game; our blood, sweat and tears are shed in preparation. We only get one shot a year."
Before the game, Gridley High holds its famous Harvest Bowl rally. This year, Gridley students dressed all in black for the rally to "mourn" the "death" of the Live Oak Lions.
At the rally, students from each class competed in various games. Points earned from these games go toward our annual Bulldog Battle between classes.
For the first game, a quarterback from each class was chosen. For the second game, a student from each class was also chosen to take a swing at a lion piñata.
Freshman Jack Becker, sophomore Brennah Payne, junior Megan Anthony and senior Leo Espinosa all took turns taking their swings at the confetti-filled lion. In the end, the seniors and sophomores ended up with 5 points allotted to their Bulldog Battle points.
Gridley High world history and government teacher Gary Story said, "A lot of other teachers and I agree that this was the best rally Gridley has had in a good three years."
That night, with LOHS hosting, students from Gridley and Live Oak poured into the bleachers to support their teams, creating a blue, gold and purple blur. Gridley JV escaped with a victory, but unfortunately, our varsity was swept 0-26, making LOHS the reigning Harvest Bowl champions four years in a row.
Varsity football player and GHS senior David Cardenes is not discouraged by the loss, claiming, "Throughout the game, we had opportunities to win, but we never capitalized. In the end, we should've won the game, but we shot ourselves in the foot by being discouraged.
"Our line did a great job, and we just need to finish. We should be fine later on down the road. Just another reason to work harder," David added.
Overall, the Harvest Bowl is a unique way to encourage school spirit though a light-hearted rivalry and intense competition. Hopefully, this tradition will continue to bring our towns together through a classic high school football game.
SydneyRay Taverner is a senior at Gridley High School. Her column appears every six weeks in Education.