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BATTLE OF THE HELMET Examining the rivalry between MV and Cupertino

By Tabitha Mendez

After coming off of a 22-12 win against Westmont HS, the MVHS football team set their eyes on the following week’s opponent: Cupertino HS. There is an underlying history which makes this game different from any other on the schedule. Coined the Helmet game, the annual matchup between MVHS and CHS is a long-standing rivalry, dating back to the 1970s.

The week prior to the Helmet game, Cupertino was defeated by Del Mar HS 14-12, and the MVHS team was hopeful they would bring back the helmet —a helmet trophy painted with both CHS and MVHS colors.

MVHS had the honors of taking home the trophy for 13 consecutive years — until 2016 — when they lost 28-20 at CHS. After getting blown out 39-14 last year, MVHS looked to bring back the the helmet.

Senior Diego Zamora and CHS quarterback, appreciates this rivalry, especially since he’s been on the winning side ever since he’s been on varsity.

Photo courtesy of Brandon Hong from The Prospector

“I don’t see this game as any different from another at all – every game is important,” Zamora said. “It feels amazing to keep the helmet, because I’ve never lost this game. It was a great feeling doing it at home, but as of now we are keeping the helmet for a very long time.”

MVHS head coach Ceazar Agront coached his first rivalry game with CHS this year. Although the team suffered a loss, Agront knows how important this game was to his players and the school. He realizes the little details and adjustments that the team needs to nail down on in order to to improve through the team and also appreciates the ambition that comes from both teams. Agront plans to close in on these details in order to improve for the future games.

“You know, when it comes to rivalry games, you can't ever count your rival out,” Agront said. “It depends on who wants to show up, and the biggest thing was they wanted it more tonight, not saying that they're a better team or that we're a better team, it's not like that. ”

Photo by Ankit Gupta

Similar to Zamora, for CHS head coach Chris Oswald, this game was no different from any other. Oswald says he trains his athletes the same way he would any other game, not allowing the rivalry to dominate the conversation.

“No, you know we didn’t talk about it [the game]. You know how it is, as schools change the rivalries change, it’s nice to have, but football is football,” Oswald said.

The Helmet game brings competition, as students gather home or away to support their schools, in hopes, of winning the helmet. For Vasquez, having a rivalry with CHS is second nature, it’s a game that matters more than any other game through the season.

Photo courtesy of Brandon Hong from The Prospector

For both schools, the Helmet game holds a high level of importance as it’s widely considered as the biggest football game of the year. It is especially important to MVHS senior and quarterback Cheto Vasquez for these reasons.

“The helmet game, to me honestly is something very deep in my heart that I cherish and care about because all the people from my middle school went to CHS and I haven't won a game yet,” Vasquez said. “The rivalry is a competition, not something meant to be angry about.”

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