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‘Getting loud,' proud as Yuba City High wins Mayor's Cup
Beneath a green wig, behind a painted face and under a dyed beard, River Valley High School student Aman Sangha stomped and screamed and rallied the Falcon faithful in enemy territory on a cool Friday night, hoping for a big win against crosstown rivals from Yuba City High School.
"It's about getting loud and fighting the other crowd," the 17-year-old senior explained.
A new Honker mascot, dueling marching bands, dripping chili-cheese nachos, rumbling grandstands and hundreds of high school football fanatics colored both sides of Honker Stadium for the seventh annual Mayor's Cup game.
On the home-team side of the stadium, Yuba City junior Scott Azevedo, painted in brown and gold, helped lead the cheering Honker crowd's famous "Brown Mob," screaming himself hoarse and blowing a duck whistle.
"It's a duck whistle because we're going hunting for some falcons," Azevedo explained at the top of his lungs.
Outside the boisterous cheering mobs, freshmen girls on both sides of the stadium quietly debated more important aspects of high school football.
"Football is awesome 'cuz football players are hot," explained Yuba City freshmen Morgan Bishop, part of group of kids supporting Yuba City's Greg Ferguson.
"I don't know what position he is," Brittany Edwards said. "I just know he's my hommie and he's cute!"
River Valley freshmen Sharon Kang, Lily Patrick and Alyssa Rodriguez teased each other about their school's adorable football players, though they didn't know which positions they played, either.
"I'm here to cheer for Sam Van Dusen, he's on the (junior varsity) team," Sharon said. "But you might as well say that my real name is Sharon Van Dusen!"
While young girls giggled, old men broke down the Xs and Os of the game. The graduated generation of former players pontificated on the finer, more philosophical points of football, while noting that none of the coaches knew anything, all the referees had to be brand new to the game, and, obviously, these kids just weren't as tough as kids used to be. Obviously.
And as the older generation dissected the current generation, the next generation practiced on the dark side of the field in a four-on-four pickup game, played with bright blue rubber football.
Raiden Toche wants to be a River Valley linebacker one day.
"I don't want to be quarterback," the 9-year-old explained. "Quarterbacks don't get to hit anybody."
Meanwhile, Yuba City freshmen Brooke Whiting and Lauren Fletcher met up with their old junior high friends and cousins, Hanna Daeumler and Bailey Fletcher, who now attend River Valley.
"Yeah, it's always a debate, but that's OK, because we always win it," Hanna joked, over her friend's objections.
"But, it's fun," Bailey said. "Because, at this game, we all get to be out with all of our friends and we've all known each other forever."