It’s just another football game. If you believe that, I have some ocean-front property in Iowa I would like to sell you. The Egg Bowl is back and people who get excited over things like high school football are on a I-can’t-wait countdown.
Although Petaluma and Casa Grande are not in the same league or the same North Coast Section division, the game is a big one as they look down the line to playoff seeding or even making the playoffs. The goal is always to win league, but when it comes to the post-season playoffs, every game is vital in terms of qualifying, and in terms of seeding. The outcome of Saturday’s game could well determine if either team gets a home game or travels in the playoffs.
Of course, the Egg Bowl is much more than a W or L, no matter how important that might be. Anytime Petaluma plays Casa Grande in anything, from Scrabble to basketball, it is bigger than the game. Earlier this fall, the rivals met on the volleyball court before a nearly full side of the Casa gym before a wildly enthusiastic crowd of rooters from both sides of town.
When the game is football, the crowd and enthusiasm can be multiplied and then squared.
The last game between Casa Grande and Petaluma varsity football teams was played in 2011.
Now it is back. It would not be accurate to say it is back bigger and better than ever. There have been some great games with huge significance played since the first game between Casa and Petaluma was played in 1974 and the first official “Egg Bowl” was played in 1993.
I don’t like to admit I’m old, but I was at that first game 43 years ago. Newbie Casa Grande won, 9-0, in what still stands as one of the biggest upsets in the rivalry.
Things are different this year. The game is more of an event, with the emphasis on community activities before and at halftime. Players from both schools have joined in community service leading up to the game. It seems to be working. I’ve noticed much more harmony than I’ve sometimes seen in past years among not only the players, but also the fans. There will always be a freeway between east and west, but there doesn’t have to be animosity.
That doesn’t mean the game won’t be spirited.
Players from both sides know one another; some of them are good friends. But, there is something bigger than a win or a loss on the line — pride. There is school pride, team pride and individual pride.
Win and that sweet taste lingers in your mouth like homemade ice cream, lose and you will belch burning chili for weeks.
You can take bets that before the end of the first quarter of the first basketball meeting between the rivals from the football winners’ bleachers will come: Egg Bowl! Egg Bowl! Egg Bowl!
In these days of threatened nuclear war, earthquakes, floods and hurricanes, a football game is really a very insignificant event.
But for one special Saturday, that insignificant event will be huge in a small Southern Sonoma County community.
(Contact John Jackson at email@example.com)