A rivalry game is broken down into several parts. Usually, the geographical location between the two rivals is close or similar. The contest always has passion and bragging rights, including a symbolic figure or designated quote as a prize for the winner until the next meeting. History is crucial, including recent or past events ending in unbelievable outcomes. The phrase anything can happen seems to be the theme at almost every clash, and records do not matter.

These two football teams (Los Banos Tigers and Pacheco Panthers) check all the rivalry boxes. Once Pacheco progressed to dress a senior varsity squad, most games were close. The “Cross-town Clash” really is such a phrase. I’ve been the Panthers PA announcer for ten years now-holy Toledo; where did the time go? Viewing the “Cross-town Clash” has been exciting and enjoyable.

I remember the game ten years ago featuring a strong Tiger squad and an underdog Panther group. The Panthers kept the game at single digits at Loftin stadium, holding a high-powered Tiger offense at bay. That was not predicted at all. The following year at Veterans Memorial Stadium, the Panthers secured their first clash victory, and it was a great game determined late in the fourth quarter.

Subsequent years seemed favorable for the Panthers with Juwan Epperson and Frank Ginda (former San Jose State standout and current USFL player) at quarterback and linebacker-running back, respectively. The Panthers took their high-powered offense and stingy defense into Loftin Stadium. They were heavy favorites not only to win but poised to secure the first Championship in the Pacheco sports program’s early history. That did not happen. The Tigers upset the Panthers, seemingly making every big play in the game.

Four years ago, at Veterans Memorial Stadium, the tigers traveled across town with Desani Tate, record-setting running back, and current D-1 prospect Justin Incaprera.  Incaprera set a sophomore record tallying 225- plus yards in the “clash game,” shocking the Panthers and posting the only lopsided victory in “cross-town clash” archives.

The following year at Loftin was the closest and most exciting game in rivalry history. This game was an actual back-and-forth contest and played well. The Panthers stalled on the Tiger one-yard line needing a TD to win with seconds remaining. The Panthers would drive the field’s length only to end in heartbreak. But payback is a you-know-what…!

The Panthers shocked a good Tiger squad at the Vet two years ago. The Tigers would score on the first play of the game, but the Panthers turned the tables and the tide shutting down Incaprera and the Tigers for the remainder of the game. The Panthers celebrated a Cross-town clash thumping at the Vet.

The Tigers have held serve at Loftin, and the Panthers have done well at Veterans Memorial Stadium. The cross-town clash will be held this year at the Vet Friday, Oct. 28, at 7 pm. Western League Championship and playoff implications are on the line fueling what promises to be a tight-fought coin toss of a game. On paper, the two teams seem to match up well. But this is a rivalry game, and once again, anything can happen!

George Cintas