What might be the biggest sporting event held in Petaluma in the past seven years happens Saturday afternoon on the Casa Grande High School football field when Petaluma and Casa Grande high schools kick off the 2017 Community Egg Bowl.
The football game between the Gauchos and Trojans dates back to 1974. The contest between the rivals was officially dubbed the Egg Bowl in 1993. It was suspended following a contentious 2011 game, and finally reinstated and reinvented this year with an emphasis on “community,” sportsmanship and unity.
Players from both teams have joined in several joint community-service projects, including clearing hay bales following the Rivertown Revival and helping out at the Petaluma Educational Foundation’s big PEF Bash.
According to the coaches, Denis Brunk at Casa Grande and Rick Krist at Petaluma, the players have bought into the community aspect.
“I see a lot of good will coming from the kids,” Krist says. “They’re the ones who will keep things in perspective.”
“Football is a competitive sport, but it is a community event and our kids have bought into that,” Brunk says.
But, as the Casa coach notes, it is a competitive event and once the ball is kicked off at 3 p.m., neither team will be leaving anything on the field, even though it is a non-league contest.
“Petaluma is a very good football team,” says Brunk. “We take it as a must-win game. We will come out full steam and give it a 100-percent effort.”
Krist said that, in addition to the emotional importance, the game has practical implications.
“This is an important game for us down the road,” he says. “(NCS) Division 3 is stacked with good games and every non-league game could well have playoff implications.”
The two teams go into the game with starkly contrasting records. Petaluma has won all three of its games, beating Montgomery, 55-48; Santa Rosa, 49-12; and Terra Linda, 52-44. Casa Grande has played just two games and lost them both, falling to St. Bernard’s, 42-14, and San Marin, 45-18.
Krist is quick to warn not to write the Gauchos off because of the record. “Their record doesn’t reflect the kind of team they are,” the Petaluma coach says. “They have played two really good teams. They have some good athletes, and we are going to have to step up our game to win.”
Although Petaluma won and Casa Grande lost last week, it was Brunk who was most pleased with his team’s play.
“We had a lot of turnovers (five),” Krist points out of Petaluma’s play in the win over Terra Linda. “Overall, it was not our finest effort.”
Brunk was more pleased with the Gauchos, despite the loss to San Marin.
“We are getting better,” he says. “Our offense is starting to click. We expect to get better week-to-week and it was nice to see us progress. It is cool that the players are beginning to get it.”
To stop Petaluma, the Gauchos are not only going to have to get it, they are going to have to do it, particularly on defense, where they made strides last week, but have still given up 87 points in two games and will be facing a team that is averaging 50 points a game.