30Q-2-KICKOFF (No. 21): What’s in a rivalry?

The events of this weekend have brought a lot of discussion about sports rivalries after the tragic events at Saturday’s NFL exhibition game between the 49ers and the Raiders. It was a despicable display by everyone involved and is the reason I’ve never had any interest in attending a 49ers-Raiders game. My wife asked me last week if I wanted to go to Saturday’s game and I told her “Absolutely not!” I couldn’t have seen this coming, but it’s an environment that could easily be predicted to be volatile.

Obviously, high school sports are built on rivalries as well. In the Oakland Athletic League, the final week of the regular season is always rivalry week. Each school plays their closest rival, so McClymonds plays Oakland Tech, Fremont plays Castlemont and Skyline plays Oakland. Any regular reader of the blog can follow the comments and see the rivalry between Alameda and Encinal.

We have games such as the Battle of the Creek (Northgate-Las Lomas), Foothill vs. Amador Valley, Monte Vista vs. San Ramon Valley and many other great cross-town rivalries. They make sports fun, especially at the high school level. For teams in contention, often those rivalry games play a big role in their season. But even if a season isn’t going well, a win in a rivalry game can be a way to salvage a season.

These games can get intense. They are about bragging rights. Some times emotions spill over. I count myself fortunate to have not seen anything near what happened at Candlestick on Sunday happen at any of these games. Of course I’ve seen my share of fights at high school games. Some have been ugly. But hopefully this becomes a good lesson for everybody.

This kind of violence isn’t acceptable at an NFL game. Nothing near it should be close to acceptable at a high school game. Maybe it’s time to send that message out a little bit here on the blog as well. Sure, words on the Internet are nowhere near as bad as firing a gun or throwing a punch at a game, but they can be pretty silly as well. Intensity and passion for your team is expected, but let’s remember that respect for the competition of the game should be expected as well. At the end of the day, these are teenagers running around on a field for coaches that get paid pennies to dedicate so much time to the game. Most of those who comment here do a great job, but as we learned Saturday, a few bad apples can ruin things for a lot of people. Just something to keep in mind throughout this season.



Jimmy Durkin

Jimmy Durkin is a sports writer for the Bay Area News Group.

  • s1lverngreen

    Nice write up Jimmy. Summed up pretty darn good! At the end of the day it’s a sport, let’s not loose sight of that.

  • ManDown

    1.) The OAL – Great battles over the years. You can always expect a hard hitting game when two OAL teams play.
    2.) MV vs SRV – It seems to go back and forth every year. High scoring and great games to watch!
    3.) Encinal vs Alameda – So much “Hate” between the two schools. The game environment is crazy with fans yelling at each other!
    4.) The DFAL – All those teams hate each other. Always great games to watch and that league is the most competitive league in the bay area besides the EBAL.
    5.) BOD vs SL – Maybe the least of my favorites. Not really the best to watch.

  • BVAL Expert

    Brentwood Bowl: Heritage vs Liberty..
    Big Little Game: Antioch vs Pittsburg
    The Bell Game: Freedom vs Liberty
    Mayors Cup: Antioch vs Deer Valley

  • lamorinda

    I’ve been going to prep football games in the East Bay for two years and have to say that I have been pretty impressed at the conduct of people at the games I have attended. Despite a great deal of mingling of people and players (JV players from the preceding game are usually in the stands during the varsity games), I have yet to see a single fight. I’m not naive; I figured there would be two or three scuffles a year. But so far, zero!

    I just thought I would share my positive experience.

    Perhaps it is the more family-oriented environment at prep games. Hopefully, adults want to set a good example for kids at the game. Along these lines, I’m sure the lack of alcholol at prep games is a factor that reduces the chances of a fights.


    Great article. I was at the game on Sunday with some friends and I just encouraged my group to get out of there ASAP. It’s not so much a rivalry but the raiders fans can be sp nutty sometimes and lately the niner fans really haven’t had much to cheer about lately so they’re headed down the wrong road. So many loud taunt fights and actual brawls. Such a shame. As for High school, can’t go wrong with monte vista at san Ramon valley this year. Or any year. The environment is insane

  • Prep Fan

    Good article Jimmy. I seem to remember an ugly incident a few years ago at Las Lomas where a kid was beat up in the parking lot after the game by kids from a rival school, kind of like the Brian Stowe incident. I was once jumped myself in a parking lot after attending a heated rivalry game back in the day. Luckily I came out pretty much unscathed, just having been in the wrong place at the wrong time, but some idiots are just looking for a reason to fight. Hopefully, all the talk this week about fan violence will get people behave better and we don’t see any more such incidents this season at any level.

  • BVAL Expert

    I used to be a player at one point in the BVAL.. and we were coming home from an away game on a bus.. and we were stopped at a intersection and these group of students that were next to us in cars from the opposing team.. were cussing and flipping us off.. saying how much they hated our school.. Yea those were the glory days ahahaha.. i was glad the whole team ignored them.. like the professionals do in sports it just looks good.. but i remember most teams that would play antioch or pittsburg at there home would be escorted by police at one point

  • antioch pitt

    on a friday night this year for first time in over 30 years!

  • HAAL c/o2000

    HAAL starts and ends with rivalries this season
    Sept. 30 Hayward vs Mt Eden @sunset (League Opener)
    Nov. 12 San Leandro @ Bishop O’Dowd (HAAL Title Game?)

  • Nfl

    Haal2000 any scrimmages going on this friday or saturday? How the farmers looking this year i hear redemer will have them ready to contend?

  • KillerD

    49er games for much of the stadium has been overtaken by thug fans, angry, drunk and sh—— talkers. Just like much of the Raiders stadium has become.

    For many of these “fans” the daylong event becomes their catharsis, and they believe they are entitled to say and do virtually anything because they are mortgaging their homes to buy the tickets, parking, concessions, and after imbibing for 5 hours prior to kick off, they become beligerant and reckless.

    If the NFL does not step in this season, given the state of the US economy and the overall “mood” of the nation, I fear the disgusting events of the 49ers-Raiders game will become to be “expected or the norm” after this season.

    My best friend cancelled his 49er season tickets after the game.

    Much like the Hooligans have overtaken many Soccer stadiums in Europe and Latin America.

  • scoop


    Pinole- BERKELEY- USUALLY decides the league champions

    ENCINAL-ALAMEDA-Absolutely NO love for each other. ENCINAL GOT THE CRAP beat out of them, early in the decade but payback has been great for them the last 4 years.

    probably my favorite, Novato kicked marins ass in the mid decade,, now its time for novato to get spanked and take there beating.

    DLS-CAL- Starting from 2007 Almost every time these teams play CAL has pushed THE KINGS to the brink. 2 out for the 4 games.

    Monte vista- San Ramon valley- From DMAC aka drew Mcallister to brett notthinham, to joe southwick to zach Kline jeff lockie. There is always a super star QB in this game.


  • ManDown

    Scoop, Good call on the Marin vs Novato series.

  • Prep Fan

    Good call on the Cal-SRV series. Not one that most would mention as MV is clearly SRV’s main rival, but there have been some great games in the last few years. The 2 best are listed below. Cal has now won the last 4 including the NCS semifinal playoff game last season.

    The ’05 game (SRV 31-26) where Cal rallied in the last minute only to be stopped on the 1 yard line as time ran out, similar to the 2000 Super Bowl ending with the Rams & Titans.

    The ’07 game (SRV 10-9) where Cal marched 99 yards in the final minute to score to get within 1. They decided to go for the tie instead of trying for 2, but missed the PAT.

    As far as Cal having a rivalry with DLS, yes they have played them very closely and given them some scares a few times in the recent past, but I think the Pitt-DLS rivalry goes deeper, if DLS can even be considered to have a local rival over the past 20 years.

  • Outsider

    I see Cal and DLS as rivals by process of elimination. They are the only two teams in EBAL not to have a cross-town rival.

  • HAAL c/o2000

    NFL: ive heard mixed opinions on Redemer. for the sake of league depth i hope its going well. Mt Eden is traveling to Mack(fri/sat)not exactly sure what day.

  • HAAL c/o2000

    NFL: ive heard mixed reviews on Redemer. hope things are good.

    Fri: San Leandro at Las Lomas 5:30
    Livermore at Bishop O’Dowd 6:00
    Mt. Eden at McClymonds 5-6
    San Lorenzo at Pinole Valley 5-6
    Sat: Northgate and American at Arroyo 3:00
    Hayward at Alhambra 5:00

  • renegades10

    Prep Fan- I might put out there that DLS main rival in the area in all sports is Monte Vista. When these teams meet whether it’s the gridiron or the hardwood or the diamond there seems to be a little something extra on the line.

  • Prep Fan

    There are so many good rivalry games between MV, SRV, DLS and Cal it is amazing. True Outsider, Cal and DLS play during rivalry week as neither has a cross-town rival (Dougherty has a few years of growing to do yet). Cal has beaten DLS 4 straight now in baseball including some classics. DLS-MV was a big rivalry in hoops when MV was good, but lately the DLS-SRV games have been the must see battles. Having only been in the EBAL for 3 years, DLS has built up a few rivalries already.

  • norcalfball

    scoop missing the greatest SRV vs MV game..Keller vs Wright, nothing matches that offensive onslaught for both teams in any game in any matchup.

    im sure prepfan rememembers this one.

    cal and dls is not a rivlary…two years ago cal was ousted in the first round..last year an amazing run to the title…was in the title game a few years before that as well…but hard to take a 5-6 year span of half being a decent game and call it a rival…

    i agree if DLS has a rival got to go with MV and Pitt, especially considering DLS carries a lot of players on the roster that could be going to either of these schools. But more so pitt because that dates back 20 plus years.

  • Oh boy

    Sam Keller vs. Kyle Wright…..wow that was a game! Two of the best quarterbacks I’ve seen live.

  • Dudleydawson

    a good rivilary has become encinal & marin catholic. Its more competitive rivilary than a nasty one but still a good one.

  • BVAL Expert

    Any good scrimages this week?

  • HAAL c/o2000

    BVAL Expet:

    Friday 8/26
    College Park, Heritage @ Foothill 3:30
    Deer Valley vs Sacred Heart(SF) @Kezar 4:00
    Monte Vista @ SRV 5:30
    Amador @ Newark 7pm
    DLS, Cal @ Pitt 7pm

  • Outsider

    I think that Logan is also in the scrimmage at Pitt tonight. They split the field with two offenses and two defenses on the field at a time. Round Robin.

  • Black&Red

    Dougherty Valley & Irvington are also at the SRV/MV scrimmage tonight