A Decades-Long Crosstown Rivalry

by Deedee Alpert (she/her)

The city of Petaluma’s greatest rivalry resurged last month as the eastside and westside schools faced off in the annual and most anticipated sporting event of the year: the Egg Bowl. Though the match has run since 1974, the rivalry was coined the “Egg Bowl” in 1993.

Although the Egg Bowl intends to be a friendly community event, those who have witnessed the game over the decades know of its potential to become wrapped up in the rivalry and lose its amiability. The showdown was temporarily disbanded in 2011 because of 19 penalties and negative language from both teams and sides of the stadium.

Petaluma High School Athletic Director Kevin Jackson, who played in the game as a student athlete, coached it and watched in the stands, has a complex understanding of the Egg Bowl. “I love seeing the stadium packed, it truly is an awesome and positive community event,” said Jackson. “But at the end of the day, it’s a football game, and the second it gets antagonistic, we often forget it is meant to be for fun.”

In 2012, Casa Grande High School joined the North Bay League and Petaluma remained with the Sonoma County League, meaning the schools no longer played each other. But as things cooled down and time moved on, both schools began to advocate playing each other again, even in non-league games. With the pledge to take precautions and prepare for negativity, the Egg Bowl was revived in 2017, this time set up by private event coordinators and not the league.

The game has run ever since and this year has been crowned the Press Democrat’s “Game of the Week.” PHS currently leads the series, with 25 wins of the total 41 played. However, the scores tend to be close. In the past, the schools often alternated winning streaks, reaching as high as nine for CGHS and ten for PHS. “It comes in waves,” said Jackson.

Despite the PHS loss at this year’s Egg Bowl, the annual conclusion can be drawn that purple, white, green and gold are an unparalleled combination-- especially when they clash.