The historic artifact will be played for on Saturday as Valley football battles Pierce College in one of California’s longest rivalries.
By Edward Segal, Staff Writer
It started back in 1965 — the first time the Monarchs played the Brahmas.
After the game was cancelled in 1951 because Pierce College didn’t have enough players, the Victory Bell match debuted 14 years later in a nationally televised game that saw Valley College win 26-6.
After losing the first five games of the rivalry, Pierce took 14 of the next 16, taking a 14-7 lead in the series as of 1988. The Brahmas have been dominant in this rivalry, but this could be the Monarchs’ chance to flip the script after a year away from football as they look to keep the bell for a sixth straight year.
“Being able to be a part of a historic game, playing for the bell seems to be really huge in the culture here at Valley,” said freshman linebacker Richard Graham. “There’s a different kind of energy with the guys that are here.”
The bell, which is actually two bells, one on top of another, is mounted on a cart that looks like it was used by bellhops to carry luggage. The silver layer on the outside is starting to peel off, showcasing how much this coveted item has been through, traveling from college to college for 56 years.
The teams have passed back and forth this legendary bell for 56 years, but this community college rivalry is overshadowed by a similar piece of hardware — the Liberty Bell. This bell is used in the rivalry between USC and UCLA, universities whose feud is recognized nationwide. But Pierce and Valley’s Victory Bell should not be overlooked. This is the time to shine for players looking to take their talents to a university or the NFL.
“You’re playing for bragging rights, you’re playing for the community, you’re playing for the school,” said Valley coach Lester Towns. “On those types of games anything can happen, you got players that normally wouldn’t make plays, all of a sudden they’re making plays.”
Pierce has not seen the Victory Bell since 2015, when Valley took it in dominating fashion with a score of 39-7. In 2019, Valley won its fifth straight matchup of the rivalry by a score of 16-7, holding their cross-freeway rivals scoreless in the last three quarters of the game. The Brahmas will look to close this chapter that has been riddled with loss and end the season with momentum.
“Pierce ain’t just coming over here to let us keep the bell, they’re coming over here to take the bell and it’s our job to protect [it],” said sophomore quarterback Isaiah Johnson, “Coach Towns tells me we have had this bell for six years. I don’t want to be the team that lets the bell go.”
Valley (2-7, 1-3 SCFA) is coming off a two-game losing streak in which they lost by one to Moorpark College and by three to Santa Monica College. On the other hand, Pierce has lost all of its games this season by more than 40.
The game will likely see a lot of action. Both teams are looking to satisfy their hunger after a two-year wait for the chance to play for an artifact their schools have been fighting over for more than 50 years.
“Rivalry week is about bragging rights,” said sophomore wide receiver Dupree Fuller Jr. “There’s a lot of people that you know on the other team, and you wanna be able to just crush their dreams and be the winner. Nobody likes to lose, especially to friends.”