Battle of the Boulevard rivalry flaming out?
The environment was somber to begin with, but electric by the end of the night as the American High School varsity football team barely escaped the Battle of the Boulevard with a 13-7 double overtime shocker, as they knocked off the 1st place Washington Huskies.
The game started off fast with American drawing first blood with a 1st quarter touchdown strike as quarterback Junior Diala hit team-leading wide receiver Anthony Wellington for a touchdown. But after that score, the game fell into a defensive stalemate. Neither team was able to move the football down the field with much efficiency for a majority of the game. American went scoreless for the remainder of regulation, while Washington was able to tie the game after a unsuccessful 1st half with a 3rd quarter touchdown.
After an undecided four quarters of regulation, the two teams were forced into overtime. In the first extra period, both teams held their ground, so they were forced to a second overtime. In it, American finally broke through when junior halfback Jared Luty powered through to the endzone for a one yard touchdown run.
However, the team wasn’t out of the woods yet: in order to claim victory, they had to stop Washington’s attempt at their own touchdown. The team stopped Washington on the first three downs and got them to a fourth down attempt. From the five yard line, Washington’s quarterback, Jordan Montoya, rolled out to the right, desperate for an open receiver. But American’s pass rush proved too much for Washington to handle, as they sacked Washington’s quarterback for the game sealing tackle. American 13, Washington 7. Final.
After the game, it was clear that this victory was much more important to the Eagles, who are now just one game back from 1st place Kennedy, than a normal regular season win.
“With all the circumstances that happened with all the players and we had a lot of issues with our disappointing Moreau game two weeks ago,”senior offensive lineman Harrison Hunter said. “It was just big for us to have such a bad loss two weeks ago and then to be able to come together as a team, almost instantly. We went from one game, losing so bad, and feeling so bad about ourselves after the Moreau game, and then the next game, we were feeling on top of the world. And I just think that beating Washington, it made it that much sweeter.”
However, something felt off. While American’s student and parent faithful had nearly packed the seats on the home side, Washington’s side was more than three quarters empty. Not the type of turnout one would expect for a renowned rivalry game.
“It’s a big game to us just because they have beaten us a few times, the last few years and you know, they are our rivals so obviously we want to do well, but it seems to me that they don’t care that much anymore,” Hunter said.
But it wasn’t just a single player who noticed the somewhat surprising lack of support on Washington’s side.
“I think the rivalry is flaming out because the past couple of years Washington has beat us, and they see us as the school that’s probably never going to be as good as them,” Diala said.
On the other hand, there are still some on the Eagles varsity football team who think that there is still hope for the perhaps flickering rivalry.
“Oh no, it’s still real. It’s very much real,” senior linebacker Jordan Dixon said. “I think it has just built up to this point, but yeah, there has always been a rivalry between us and the Huskies.”
But usually in heated rivalries, players on opposing sides have at least a little animosity towards one another. However in the American-Washington so-called rivalry, that may no longer hold true.
“I have a few friends on the team, you know I respect them as a football team, so they are a good football team, but they are our rivals, so obviously we have to hate them a little bit. But no, I personally don’t hate them,” Hunter said.
There may even be the question of whether or not this rivalry game between American and Washington is only being kept alive from the efforts of just one side—American.
“I feel like its a bit one-sided, because obviously we have the Battle of the Boulevard which is big for us, and everyone showed up, but when I asked people from Washington about Battle of the Boulevard, they don’t even know what it is anymore,” Hunter said.
So yes, American gained a very important victory on October 11th, but they may have lost something that has much more history attached to it. As a result, we may not have the privilege of calling the Washington Huskies our rivals for much longer.