SBVC revives decades-old tradition in football season opener Saturday

The Wolverines will face off against cross-county rival Riverside City College in a “Bell Game,” a 70-year tradition between the two colleges

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IECN photo Marcus Silva: The Wolverines play against Pasadena City College during the Fall 2017 season opener on September 9, 2017
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IECN photo SBVC: In 1948, the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway Company donated the Victory Bell to the winner of the game between the two colleges.

The 2018 season opener for the San Bernardino Valley College (SBVC) football team will revive a long-established tradition against cross-county rival Riverside City College (RCC). Since 1948, the highly-coveted “Victory Bell” trophy has been passed between the victors of the football games between the two schools. For the first time in seven years, SBVC and RCC will once again battle for the Bell on September 15, 2018 at 6 p.m. at the SBVC Stadium.

SBVC and RCC have competed in football since the 1920s, but it wasn’t until a special donation gave birth to the trophy game now known as the Bell Game. In 1948, the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway Company donated the Victory Bell to the winner of the football game between the two colleges. The bell, suspended from a three foot steel frame and weighing nearly 250 pounds, is rung in celebration by the victorious team after each faceoff.

IECN photo LaVar Godoy: For the first time in seven years, SBVC and RCC will once again battle for the Bell on September 15, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. at the SBVC Stadium.

Since the rivalry’s inception, RCC’s record edges out SBVC, with 39 wins compared to SBVC’s 32. However, the teams haven’t competed since 2011, when the RCC Tigers defeated the Wolverines and took home the Bell. “I am glad each side decided to bring the game back, even for a limited time,” said SBVC Director of Athletics David Rubio. “With two cross-county rivals and both institutions having a great athletic history, there is no reason why this game should have waited as long as it did.”

SBVC hasn’t possessed the Bell since 1996, back during a time when the college’s team was still known as the Indians. But this year, SBVC plans to take back the Bell for the first time as the Wolverines, the college’s mascot since 2001. “Not only was it a trophy game, the game even went beyond pride,” said SBVC assistant football coach Pat Meech. “It had the potential to be lengthy return to a great matchup, it was about bragging rights, and it was great for the local communities.”

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Written by Paul Bratulin.

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