Rally towels, spirit shirts and positive attitudes are what Pitman High School and Turlock High School students are bringing to the crosstown football game — named the Harvest Bowl — on Friday.
Since the un-sportsmanlike atmosphere that was present at the Harvest Bowl two years ago, school administrators have been setting the bar high for all students and community members. The 2009 rivalry matchup went off without a hitch and they are hoping to keep the positive momentum going this Friday.
“It is going to be a great event for the community,” said Sonny Da Marto, Turlock Unified School District superintendent.
The same rules apply as they did last year with pre-approved signs only, no gang attire and children must be accompanied by an adult, but some of the rules don’t apply anymore with the new Joe Debely Stadium renovations.
One of the main problems for the Harvest Bowl two years ago was the crowding at the south end of the stadium, said Isaias Rumayor, assistant principal for Turlock High School. Last year, administrators blocked that area off but with the renovations, the field is completely blocked off with new fencing to protect the artificial turf and all-weather track.
Also there were two entrances to Joe Debely in previous years where some students could sneak in, but this year Joe Debely has only one entrance off of Colorado Avenue and Marshall Street with more secure fencing, Da Marto said. The one entrance also makes handling tickets easier.
“There is no worry about the perimeter with the new fences,” he said.
There will also be no in-zone seating this year like there was last year due to the new all-weather track, Da Marto said. The only people allowed on the track are the football team, coaches and cheerleading squads.
But the pre-approved signs requirement will still be intact to prevent some of the inappropriate signs that appeared two years ago.
One of the big controversies that started the administrators’ promotion of a positive sportsmanlike atmosphere was a sign that read “We (heart) our teachers...but not like that,” in reference to former Pitman High teacher Carl Kubicek who was sentenced to seven months in jail for carrying on a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old student.
All signs must be pre-made and pre-approved, Da Marto said.
Beyond the signs, bad student behavior will have consequences. If students are being inappropriate at the game, they will be asked to leave and if it is serious they will be suspended, Rumayor said. At the game, students will be held to the same code of conduct as they are at school because it is a school-sponsored event.
Inappropriate behavior would consist of unruly behavior, a student not being courteous to others and using profanity, according to Rumayor.
Rumayor also said that parents will be held to the same code of conduct and will be asked to leave if they show inappropriate behavior.
All tickets will also be pre-sale only with no tickets sold at the door, Da Marto said. There will only be tickets sold for the capacity of Joe Debely Stadium. No tickets will be sold at the door and people who don’t have a ticket will be turned away.
Tickets are being sold for $7 for adults, $5 for children and students with an ASB sticker. Tickets can be bought at Pitman High School and Turlock High School front offices.
Pitman High students plan to promote their ‘White Out’ night like they did at last year’s Harvest Bowl with all their students wearing white Pit-Crew T-shirts, said Lucas Giron, Pitman High student. There are also white rally towels being sold for the first time in the past five years. The first 100 students who bought their Harvest Bowl tickets received a white rally towel.
They are also focusing more on promoting their school rather than the rivalry and putting down the other team.
“We are focusing on our boys and our team,” said Karlie Matter, Pitman High student. “It is just another game for our football team.”
Turlock High is doing the same and keeping the focus on their school.
“We are downplaying the game,” said Dana Trevethan, Turlock High School principal. “We are making sure it’s a positive rivalry. We are looking at it as more of a reunion.”
Students at Turlock High are also receiving spirit shirts with the purchase of their Harvest Bowl tickets and the students are even thinking about having a tailgate barbecue before the game, Trevethan said.
Both schools are setting the game up for a positive fun experience and they are all pumped up for Friday.
To contact Maegan Martens, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.