Note: This isn't one of my best articles, but its the only one that was actually published thus far.
By: Jake Packer
For many teams, there is one game that is more important then any other. One game, which can make or break an entire season. If you go 1 and 8 but you win this game, you can look back on the season as a sort of success. On the other hand no season is complete without a victory in this game. The game is the one you play against your arch rivals
Rivalries are as important, if not more so, to the fans that attend. To a true athletic supporter they can be all encompassing. I still remember the traitor who dared to go on a date with a member from our rival. He was ridiculed, and disowned. When a rivalry is cross town it can be particularly strong. Even mature adults will bare a grudge when they run into a member from the “other school.”
East Idaho has some of the best, most heated rivalries in sports. Most games feel like a rivalry because you have been playing this teams in little league for years, but there strong rivalries that are there year after year, sometimes for generations, we call these arch rivals. Here are a few:
Black and Blue Bowl
Who: Pocatello Indians and Highland Rams
Where to Watch: Holt Arena, Pocatello
When: October 5
Classic cross town rivalry. With an attendance of about to 10,000, this game gets more fans then some of the college football games. Both Pocatello and Highland are traditional football powerhouses, and the games are always intense and fun to watch. Especially since Coach Harrison’s arrival at Pocatello. What makes this game great is the high level these teams play at. Pocatello is the 4A defending state champions, and Highland is coming of being the 5A runners-up.
Of coarse this rivalry extends to all sports. The following story comes from the book Nash and Zullo's Believe it or Else!!
"The all-female cheerleading and pep squads from Pocatello High decided to get even with a rival basketball team - by holding it's players hostage! In 1972, Pocatello's football team lost to cross-town rival Highland High. So the Pocatello cheerleaders sought revenge. Early one morning, soon after basketball season opened, all 16 Highland players received telephone calls inviting them to a surprise "come as you are breakfast" for city athletes. They were told to arrive at a local church within the hour. The site of the breakfast allayed any suspicions over the mysterious dawn phone calls. Obligingly, all 16 sleepy-eyed Highlanders showed up for the breakfast, which turned out to be a hoax. Once inside the basement, the 30 Pocatello High girls barred the doors and kept the players hostage while serenading them with Pocatello's school songs and cheers. The embarrassed cagers were finally released two hours later."
The Civil War
Who: Bonneville Bees and the Hillcrest Knights
Where to Watch: Thunder Stadium, Iona Idaho
When: September 7
The Civil War came about in 1992 when The Bonneville school district built their second high school, Hillcrest High. While this is one of the newer rivalries in East Idaho, it doesn't lessen its intensity. One of the great elements of this, and other rivalries is the shared football field these teams have. Both want to call it home but only the winning team gets to paint the goal posts in their team colors.
Blackfoot Broncos Vs. Snake River Panthers
In my house growing up there was no greater contest in all of sports then the annual Blackfoot vs Snake River football game. This game was the end all of game. Victory, we owned the town; a loss kept the family up all night rehashing the contest. This rivalry was so ingrained in my family that we developed an aversion to the color purple. I still remember the day my little brother came home from kindergarten in trouble for telling all his classmates to break their purple crayons. One of the only things I remember from art class is that green and purple are opposites. It just felt right.
The football game seemed to bring out half the county. The bleachers would fill up, and the standing spots along the fence would be several people deep. The game was a common bond that city and country folk shared. So many families had cousins living in the other school district it was always a source of pride for the team that won, even if they had no kin playing in the contest. In my day, for a kid growing up in Blackfoot beating Snake River, was just about all that mattered. The floats at the fair parade would have the final score on them, while the losing team would make promises to get them next time.
Sadly, for some never explained reason, the Blackfoot/Snake River game is no longer played. The kid who broke the purple crayons will never get to meet his rivals on Hartkopf Stadium or Harrison Field. But just because the game is gone, doesn't mean the rivalry is dead. All you have to do is go to a little league game, or a summer jamboree, to realize this rivalry will never die.
The Buck Bowl
Who: Blackfoot Broncos and Madison Bobcats
Where to Watch:Hartkopf Field, Blackfoot Idaho
When: August 31
This year the Buck Bowl is the season opener for Blackfoot. The Brothers Buck coach the two football teams, Stan for the Broncos, and Mitch, for the Bobcats, and that makes for great drama. The towns may be separated by sixty miles, but that doesn't stop large crowds from coming to the game and rooting for their team. Blackfoot won this year's game 35 to 14.
The Emotion Bowl
Who: Idaho Falls Tigers and Skyline Grizzlies
Where to Watch: Ravesten Stadium, Idaho Falls
When: October 12
The battle for supremacy of Idaho Falls has it all. A shared stadium, split school district, and multi-generational fans who have been there since the beginning. Aptly named, this game is all about emotion. It doesn’t matter the records of the teams going into the game, either team can win, and they do. In the last seven years, no game has been decided by more then 11 points, and while Skyline leads the series 24-17, in the last 30 years the record is virtually split. The game is so big ESPN has even covered it. With great support from the students, community, and administration, this is the standard for a great rivalry. If you are a fan of high school sports, you owe it to yourself to check this game out. (http://www.d91.k12.id.us/skyline/sports/football/history.htm)