This year was a special Bell Game that created a new record. For the first time in history, both Tulare Western and Tulare Union went into the game undefeated. This game put people on the streets at 2am just in hopes to get tickets to this rivalry game. The players, students, parents, and entire community were pumped and ready for this game and excited to watch these two talented and competitive teams face off Friday, November 3, at Bob Mathias stadium.

The whole school went all out for the Bell Game. Chalk encouragements down Palm Lane were drawn to encourage players with phrases such as, “Go Mustangs” or “Bring home the bell.” Not only were there chalk encouragements, but ASB also went out of their way to make sure that the Mustang boys each got a goody bag full of stuff and a poster with their number printed on it, attached to their doors. The cheerleaders decorated the locker room and created even more encouragement bags for the players. The goal was to help encourage our Mustang football boys to play hard and know that they were supported by the students and staff at Tulare Western.

During Bell Week, both schools, Tulare Western and Tulare Union, expressed their pride for their school and their support for their football boys. Every day, both schools had dress up days to go with their theme for the week. The Mustangs theme was “Free the Bell,” while the Tribes’ was “The centuries of the Bell Game.” The day of the game, there were rallies at both schools that got the student body pumped up and ready for the game, as well as highlight their football players and shine the spotlight on them on their special night.

This rivalry game was the top game in the whole Valley that night. There were multiple newscasts covering the game that night and giving everyone who wasn’t able to attend the game, a chance to see the eventful game of the night. Many students were interviewed from both schools that gave students the opportunity to share why they loved their schools so much. 

Going into the game, we interviewed some of the Tulare Western football boys to see what they expected for this game and how they wanted to contribute to their team. senior, Damarian Patterson, said, “My expectations going into the Bell Game are to play hard all four quarters with my boys, and just finish and come out with a win, bringing the bell home.” He then stated “I plan on contributing to my team by doing what I can, playing the spots I’ve been training to do all year, just going hard and full speed.”

We then spoke to, senior, Jonathan Ventura, and he stated, “My expectations is to go into the game with a positive mindset, play every quarter like it’s our last, and to show everyone in Tulare what Tulare Western football is all about.” He followed with saying, “ I will do what’s asked to do by my coaches and help my teammates around me, pumping my teammates all 4 quarters.”

Though this game did not end like the Mustangs wanted, it was a hard fought and competitive game for both teams. This game was a great representation of how the boys had prepared all season, the Mustangs just weren’t able to come out on top. The Tribe opened up the game with a touchdown in the first 20 seconds, and after that moment we knew it was going to be an eventful game. The Tribe stayed on top the whole game, but the Mustangs continued to fight back by earning touchdowns to stay in the game. The Tulare Union Tribe was able to come out with the win with Tulare Union 62 and Tulare Western 41. This was the Mustangs’ first loss in league, and the Tribe remains undefeated for the season. Both teams will now move onto playoffs.

The Tulare Western boys shared what they had learned from this game and how they plan to use that knowledge to go farther in playoffs, as well as what high expectations they have. Senior, Rene Gonzalez, said, “I learned that we can’t just let one game define us.” He boldly stated, “I expect to size our rings.”

Senior, Colton Gist, said, “I think we did pretty good as a team, but the game plan wasn’t there.” He continued with his expectation, “In playoffs, we are going to go out there and kick some butt.”

Though the Mustang boys were very well prepared for the game, they weren’t able to come through with the win. Moving on from this game, Coach Rocha told the boys to put the past in the past and stay focused on going far in playoffs. The boys are excited because they got the number 1 seed in division 3. This means the boys have a bye the first round and have the luxury of playing home all the way through the finals. Just like last year, the boys are hoping to make it to Valley again this year.

Looking forward, the community is excited to see how the boys will finish this year’s season and hope they come out with Valley rings. Every single one of the boys are looking forward to working extra hard and staying focused during practices and film to fulfill and achieve their goal of winning Valley.


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