The Apple Valley and Victor Valley football coaching staffs have a friendly respect for each other.
It’s just not so friendly for one week each year.
That’s the week they prepare for the Bell Game, which will be played Friday at Newton T. Bass Stadium.
The rivalry game began in 1969, two years after Apple split from Victor Valley and opened its doors. The Sun Devils became only the second public school in the Victor Valley area. Only the Axe game between the Jackrabbits and Barstow has a longer history. Here’s a look at the rivalry.
Series record: Apple Valley leads 27-14. Two games, coming in 1994 and 2000, were forfeit wins for the Sun Devils due to ineligible Jackrabbits.
What happened last year: The Jackrabbits shut out the Sun Devils in the second half to win 20-17 to claim back the bell for the first time since 2003.
What the teams play for: A bell that is kept by the winning team until its beaten. The winning team paints the bell its school colors.
Where did the bell come from: The orgin of the bell is shrouded in a bit of mystery. In talking to four coaches and two others associated with both schools, we got four different answers. The most popular answer was that it was donated from a church. It was also thought to be from a locomotive or the old library in Apple Valley.
Longest winning streak: Apple Valley has three five-game winning streaks, with the most recent stretching from 2004-2008.
Alumni involved with the coaching staffs: Apple Valley assistants Matt Rohrbaugh, T.J. Carpino and Kyle Godfrey are all former Sun Devils.
Victor Valley head coach Eric Perry and defensive coordinator and former long-time head coach Leland Eudy graduated from the high school. Eudy played in the first Bell Game, and Perry played in the first one played at Newton T. Bass Stadium in 1989.
No disrespect: Typically the teams don’t shake hands after the game, not out of disrespect for the other team, but due to the winning team and its fans rushing to the bell. The head coaches make eye contact, wave and get on with their night.
Going for two: After Victor Valley pulled within one point in overtime on a Maurice Brown touchdown in 1994, then Jackrabbits coach Art Sanchez decided to go for two points and the win. Brown was initially hit in the backfield, but he remained on his feet and muscled his way into the end zone for a 29-28 victory.
Fifteen years later, a similar ending transpired in the 2008 game. Trailing 28-27 in the fourth, Victor Valley coach Leland Eudy decided to go for it, but this time Nathan Burnaman’s pass to DiVance Walker was deflected in the end zone. Apple Valley kept the bell for the fifth straight year.
Here’s the all-time series records:
1969: Apple Valley 28, Victor Valley 7
1970: Victor Valley 14, Apple Valley 6
1971: Apple Valley 34, Victor Valley 6
1972: Apple Valley 34, Victor Valley 18
1973: Victor Valley 7, Apple Valley 0
1974: Apple Valley 21, Victor Valley 6
1975: Victor Valley 29, Apple Valley 6
1976: Victor Valley 27, Apple Valley 14
1977: Apple Valley 36, Victor Valley 16
1978: Apple Valley 14, Victor Valley 0
1979: Apple Valley 13, Victor Valley 0
1980: Apple Valley 21, Victor Valley 7
1981: Apple Valley 13, Victor Valley 0
1982: Victor Valley 6, Apple Valley 3
1983: Apple Valley 21, Victor Valley 10
1984: Apple Valley 16, Victor Valley 0
1985: Apple Valley 36, Victor Valley 8
1986: Victor Valley 11, Apple Valley 3
1987: Victor Valley 7, Apple Valley 0
1988: Victor Valley 17, Apple Valley 7
1989: Apple Valley 12, Victor Valley 7
1990: Apple Valley 15, Victor Valley 11
1991: Apple Valley 27, Victor Valley 12
1992: Apple Valley 15, Victor Valley 10
1993: Apple Valley 41, Victor Valley 10
1994: Victor Valley 29, Apple Valley 28, forfeit
1995: Apple Valley 37, Victor Valley 21
1996: Victor Valley 19, Apple Valley 16
1997: Victor Valley 48, Apple Valley 6
1998: Apple Valley 34, Victor Valley 19
1999: Apple Valley 58, Victor Valley 13
2000: Victor Valley 13, Apple Valley 9, forfeit
2001: Victor Valley 27, Apple Valley 15
2002: Victor Valley 56, Apple Valley 28
2003: Victor Valley 37, Apple Valley 13
2004: Apple Valley 29, Victor Valley 6
2005: Apple Valley 16, Victor Valley 14
2006: Apple Valley 27, Victor Valley 13
2007: Apple Valley 46, Victor Valley 13
2008: Apple Valley 29, Victor Valley 28
2009: Victor Valley 20, Apple Valley 17
Total: Apple Valley 27, Victor Valley 14
What are your memories of the Bell Game? Have a favorite game? Tell us about it in the comments.
— Compiled by C.J. Daft and Matthew Peters
(Note: This story ran in our In The Dirt page on Sept. 21.)