The end of summer can only mean one positive thing: the start of the high school football season. Why not the NFL? Because things such as the Tom Brady deflategate and the concussion debate have made America’s game so far out of touch with the common person. High school football is the ultimate in grassroots sports and fandom. Your children or the kids in the neighborhood who train so hard doing jump squats, weighted jump ropes, agility ladder drills all summer long, and the dreaded Hell Week did so to represent the community and every meaning behind that helmet logo. Additionally, high school football is where dreams are made. That once in a generation kid becomes recruited by a Division I program is the byproduct of powerhouse football programs. This week, we highlight some of the best (and least) known high school football rivalry games.
Long Beach Poly High School is the school where stars are made on and off the field. The list of alumnus is extensive: Snoop Dog to Cameron Diaz, “Poly” as the school is affectionately referred to, is where current NFL stars DeSean Jackson and Marcedes Lewis played the gridiron game and past legends such as Marquez Pope and Willie McGinest once graced the field. One of the biggest Southern California football rivalries is against Mater Dei High School where NFL quarterbacks and future quarterbacks Matt Leinart, Matt Barkley, and Max Wittex learned their trade. These two schools are not only one of the most decorated programs, but they also play in the same division – Pac 5. There are no down years for this intense game, and spectators are always treated to a roll call to college football’s future stars.
One of America’s oldest high school football rivalry takes us to the state of Louisiana. Dating back more than 93 years and counting, Jesuit High School versus Holy Cross High School is essentially the roll call of American society’s movers and makers. Hailing from Jesuit High School is Harry Connick Jr., Rusty Staub, and Mitch Landrieu to name a few. What makes this rivalry game unique and important is the seriousness and the widespread involvement of the local community. America’s 5th oldest rivalry game between the Tigers and Blue Jays never disappoint.
Image courtesy of eastloshigh.com
Lastly, Southern California boasts one of the oldest and proudest high school football rivalries between Garfield High School and Roosevelt High School from two of Los Angeles’s oldest and historical neighborhood. The East L.A. Classic is played yearly to crowds up to 25,000 from all corners of the world. Played at Weingart Stadium, this game is a sight to behold and truly a game for everybody due to Los Angeles’s diverse and constantly changing demographics.
Our short list of top high school rivalries is polemic, but yet a basis of personal opinion and sentiment. There are many more and probably more important rivalry games out there, but they all have personal connotations and connections. For this writer, Southern California and Louisiana hold a special place in the heart. But please, let us know what your thoughts are and which game is important in your eyes through our social media channels. As always, please keep it cordial.