Posted: Sep 30, 2010 12:47 AM by Lee Douglas
Updated: Oct 4, 2010 10:06 AM
The Navy - Air Force game at Falcon Stadium on Saturday isn't the only big football rivalry being played in Southern Colorado this weekend. It may be Navy Week at Air Force but its "Bell Game Week" in Pueblo!
(1-3) Central takes on (3-1) Centennial for the 110th time Friday night. This is the oldest high school rivalry west of the Mississippi. The Victory Bell became part of the rivalry in 1950.
The game is a sellout or near sellout every year. More than 13,000 fans pack Pueblo's Dutch Clark Stadium. One side of the stadium is filled with fans wearing the blue of Central. Centennial red is prominent on the other. No other single game sporting event in Colorado comes close to being this big. The players and coaches know this is not your typical high school football game.
Zach Odell, in his first year as Central's head coach, told News First 5's Jordan Mason, "The school celebrates it and the community celebrates it and one of the reasons players come to Central is to play in the Bell Game."
Central running back Keanu Valdez adds "With 17-thousand fans screaming at you, the lights hit you, the field. Everything is just huge. Pretty much for us it's like a Super Bowl."
Centennial head coach Mike Palumbo told us, "As much as we'd like to make it just another game, really it has a little more importance than that."
Central has won the Bell the last three years and leads the overall series 55-45-9. Kickoff is at 7:00 p.m. Friday.