Athletic directors Brian Hashimoto and Kenneth Peffer explain how Battle of the Boulevard quickly became American’s biggest rivalry game
In fall of 2012, American introduced the Battle of the Boulevard. Instead of playing a regular game on the gridiron against the Huskies, the Eagles would battle their bitter rival, hoping to claim the bright green street sign (trophy located in Gateway) that suddenly separated the two schools more than ever.
Former ASB President Robby Gill wanted to find a way to bring more competitiveness to American’s football program. After witnessing years of agonizing defeat to the school down the boulevard, Washington High School, Gill wanted to spark change.
“In 2012, our ASB president Robby Gill decided he wanted to bring some competition between the schools,” one of American’s athletic directors, Mr. Peffer said. “He used the inspiration of the Kennedy – Irvington Battle of Blacow; the idea was that we would pick the football game and make that the Battle of the Boulevard.”
As the years have gone by, the game against the Huskies has gained an increasing amount of traction among the student body. Year after year, the rivalry has proven to draw out the greatest crowd of the season as proud Eagles filter inside enemy territory to witness the annual clash for Fremont Boulevard. Eagles from various echelons parade into TAK Stadium wearing their “Claws Over Paws” T-shirts, creating a sense of unity that only the heated rivalry can.
“Before we actually did this we hadn’t beaten Washington in forever, so they didn’t see it as a rivalry,” Peffer revealed. “It has gained steam steady competitively, as we’ve been league champions. To be honest, we get into it more than they do.”
The extra effort and energy displayed by American in this rivalry has paid dividends over the last few years. After a long drought – through their competitive fire – American has nearly evened up the matchup. According to MaxPreps, the Eagles have won two games since the rivalry was established 5 years ago. A 2017 Battle of the Boulevard win would tie the series.
“The school that won would have a little engraving on the trophy that the other team paid for and then that trophy was originally intended to sit in the Gateway of the [winning] school,” Peffer explained. “The idea for all of these things is like the college football rivalries, so like the axe from Cal and Stanford.”
Battle of the Boulevard most notably provides seniors who devoted all four years to the program, a chance to leave their unique imprint on the field. For Senior Anthony Goseco, his only goal is to keep the trophy where it “belongs.”
“Battle of the Boulevard is very important to me because [Fremont Blvd.] is our Boulevard,” Goseco firmly stated. “We beat them last year and we will keep the trophy at American!”
Caption: American and Washington’s offensive lines face off at the line of scrimmage for a physical battle in the trenches. The Eagles defeated the Huskies by a score of 28-20, to reign victorious on Fremont Boulevard.