Helmet Game

Claire Warner, Tal Ashkenazi, and Sydney Liao

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        The Helmet Game is one of the most popular football games of the season; however, only a few people are aware of its origins. Although Monta Vista and Cupertino had been rivals for many years, the competitive spirit intensified in the 1980s, when both schools developed high-performing basketball teams, making all sports games much more exciting.

        Buck Shore, a former CHS PE teacher, became the football coach for Monta Vista. Chuck Rogers had been an assistant coach at Monta Vista alongside Shore before becoming the head coach for Cupertino. Since Shore and Rogers had worked together in previous years, and the schools’ populations were very competitive, they began the Helmet Game tradition, in which the winner of the Monta Vista versus Cupertino game received the prized helmet trophy. Most likely, its purpose was to add to the friendly competition and spirit between the schools. The original Helmet Game, played at Cupertino High School in 1985, ended with a Monta Vista victory of 21-14.

        This year, despite the chance of rain, crowds from both schools gathered at Monta Vista to support their respective team. Cupertino’s Rowdy Rooters stood at the front of the stands, passing out pom poms and other items to amp up Tino spirit.

        Said Senior Amie Boyle, “For this game, we made an event on Facebook and linked it to the Cupertino school page and spammed everybody’s Facebook with profile pictures to promo. Today we made posters, and we’ve got ponchos.”

        According to Boyle, the tradition of the rivalry of the Helmet Game started long before the players stepped onto the field.

        “Monta Vista made this little video to roast us, basically saying that we weren’t prepared [for the game] so we made one back at them. We showed them the helmet and the trophy, saying, ‘Hey, we’re the ones who have it.’”

        Although the Helmet Game required some extra preparation for the Rowdy Rooters, it was nothing special for Monta Vista’s marching band. Said Monta Vista percussionist Diddo Rajbal, “We’ve been practicing every Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday morning. Other than the crowd, the Helmet Game is basically the same as any other game.”

        During the first quarter of the match, the Pioneers scored 14 points, and through tackles, turnovers, and runs, they maintained this lead throughout the game. In fact, Cupertino caught four interceptions, blocked a few potent runs and caused some disastrous fumbles for the other team, ultimately contributing to a Cupertino victory of 39 – 14.

        Said Cupertino football coach Christopher Oswald, “We tackled extremely well. They’re a fast team; we were able to run with the ball and cause turnovers, fumbles, and interceptions which was special. We haven’t done enough of that this year.”

        Although Cupertino is excited about their victory, the football team still needs to focus on their final game of the season against Santa Clara high school. Said CHS football player senior Alex Bruckhaus, “The Helmet Game is just another game for us. We’re happy we won it because we’re making Cupertino happy, but it’s onto the next one now.”

        Oswald concluded the evening’s event by expressing his pride in the team.

        “We work really hard in the weight room, and we worked all summer four days a week. Our goal is to keep building, and I don’t know if people are aware of how committed these guys are. This wasn’t an accident, this was all hard work,” said Oswald. “I know people put a lot of stock in this game, but for us, it’s just one on the schedule. We’re already co-champs, and in the playoffs, so I couldn’t be happier for these young men.”

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