Youths from Monte Vista High School went wild when their football team defeated their cross-town rivals, the San Ramon Valley Wolves, in a close game, 20-14, on Friday evening.
"It's a good rivalry," said Monte Vista Coach Craig Bergman. "It's kind of bragging rights. The schools are five miles apart."
"The parents get to mingle," he added. "When it's all said and done, we are all friends."
However, there were few friendly moments between the two schools after the game's end. Mustang fans gloated after their team's victory and sang: "Nah, nah, nah, nah ... nah, nah, nah, nah ... yea, yea, yea ... say good-bye!" Cheerleaders wearing black lined up together on the football field, waved their pom poms, and chanted "Go Monte Vista" in front of Wolves fans.
The vanquished Wolves - who were undefeated prior to Friday night - shook hands with the Mustangs after the game. They walked stoically off the gridiron and to their locker room as the Mustangs remained on their field, celebrating and hoisting high their golden trophy. Wolves fans were stunned and heartbroken as the Mustangs took over their home.
Some girls cried and others looked at Monte Vista with disdain.
"I *#@ hate Monte Vista," said one girl.
But there were other girls from San Ramon who hugged their friends from Monte Vista. Senior Drew McAllister, the Mustang star quarterback, received plenty of hugs and kisses on the cheeks from several females.
"We played hard all day," said McAllister, who will be attending University of Southern California next year. "This is my last year. This was a very big game for us."
The rivalry between San Ramon and Monte Vista started decades ago after Monte Vista opened in 1965. Alumni recalled the intensity of the games through the years.
"The experience is incredible," said Bill Selli, who played football at Monte Vista in 1982. "It's scary to lose to San Ramon. I've never lost against San Ramon in football …. Every time, we've come close."
Selli and his friends, Ken King and George Forni, who were also on the Monte Vista 1982 football team, said the two high school teams did many things to each other during the week before they faced each other in a game.
One time, San Ramon kids poured honey all over the Monte Vista bleachers, and they set Monte Vista's grass on fire with the flames forming the letters "SRVHS." On the other hand, Monte Vista dipped red and black dye in San Ramon's pool.
"They both have outstanding teams in Danville," said King. "It's very intense."
King noted that players at the high schools have known each other since elementary and junior high, which makes the rivalry special. Forni said once the old Valley Pioneer had a layout where the two opposing coaches were on opposite sides, a crystal ball sitting between them.
"It's a tremendous rivalry that brings kids together," said John Raynor, athletic director at San Ramon. "It lends itself to a feeling of spirit, commonality."
Monte Vista dominated San Ramon in the 1980s. But in the past several years, the records have been mixed. Coach Bergman said Monte Vista's recent record against San Ramon is 7-6.
Last Friday's game, like all the past cross-town football games, brought a packed crowd, attracting alumni from both schools.
"We still don't like green and gold," Forni said.
Monte Vista entered the game with a 6-3 record in the East Bay Athletic League. San Ramon started the game with a record of 8-1-0. San Ramon wrapped up the EBAL's automatic bid to the North Coast Section playoffs last week with a win over Livermore High School.
On Friday, red fireworks burst and the San Ramon band played rousing songs that brought fans to their feet - and the game began. San Ramon running back Mike Mellinger scored a touchdown, and wide receiver Greg Wilson received an 18-yard pass from quarterback Joe Southwick. The Wolves growled with ferocity and took a commanding 14-0 lead by the end of the first period.
The stands were packed. Wolves fans sat on their side raving "Go Wolves!" Mustang fans sat across from them, cheering their team to victory. Many ate nachos and hot tri-tip sandwiches oozing with cheese. Blonde girls with green and gold makeup screamed and yelled in the stands.
Babies cried and little children ran in circles outside the sidelines. Many fans stood in the stands; others hovered together on the periphery like bees around a hive. The game was loud but did not get out of hand. Although a police officer and a security man escorted a youth outside the fields.
It appeared San Ramon, who were the favorites to win the game, would cruise to a victory. But Monte Vista slowly came back. The Mustangs cut the lead in half in the second quarter after McAllister scored for a 3-yard touchdown. They tied the score after Tom Hemmingsen received an 18-yard pass from McAllister.
AC/DC's "Hell's Bells" played when the teams came roaring back from their half-time break.
Neither team scored in the third quarter. But the fourth quarter brought in the dramatics. San Ramon wide receiver Bryce Peterson fumbled a punt return with less than seven minutes to go in the fourth. Monte Vista seized the opportunity to capitalize on the Wolves' turnover.
McAllister threw an 8-yard pass to David Casper for a touchdown with approximately 1:30 remaining to give Monte Vista a 20-14 lead. The Wolves failed to score with their last possessions, and this year's game was over.
The opposing coaches shook hands - and the Mustangs celebrated.
"Believe it or not, we're pretty good at controlling it," said Danville police Officer Jeffrey Phelps, about the game. "They're kids. I remember doing this."
The Wolves fans unhappily watched the Mustang celebration and gingerly left the stands.
"The kids played hard," Raynor said. "We fought. It's one game. Losing to Monte Vista doesn't dampen their season. We take this as a fun educational experience."
After the game, kids and families packed Mountain's Mike Pizza, Pete's Brass Rail, Starbucks and Yogurt Shack. Some Mustang fans continued yelling, "Wolves *#@!" as they drove away on Hartz Avenue.