YEARS OF TRADITION CONTINUE…BATTLE FOR THE BELL
The Battle for the Bell tradition continues…
Edison Chargers have won the Battle for the Bell 12 years in a row!
One of the highlights of each year at both Edison High School and Fountain Valley High School is their rivalry on the football field. Over the years we’ve all heard of the antics which have
taken place at both schools during the weeks before the games and the legends told about the players on both sides like Willie Gittens, Kenny Margerum, Frank Seuer, Kerwin Bell and a host of others.
The games between the two schools became an Orange County event in the 1970’s. They were played at Anaheim Stadium in front of 29,000 excited, cheering fans. But, where it began and how it began is a mystery to most of today’s students, players and fans.
Initially it started with an announcement that Edison High School would be opening and that students would be transferred from both Huntington Beach High School and Fountain Valley High School. At Huntington, the transferring players who were in Huntington’s football weight training program were treated well and allowed to continue until they were transferred. At Fountain Valley, however, the staff dropped all transferring players the week they received their names.
From that point on (according to Edison’s first coach, Bill Vail), that was the type of attitude displayed by Fountain Valley and it was clear that they were much more intent on winning than Huntington Beach (Edison’s cross-town rival). Lyman Clower, Edison’s Athletic Director at the time, said, “We knew from “Day One,” regardless of what we were going to be, the players were convinced that we would beat Fountain Valley. They believed that.”
Edison had entered the 1969 season in the Irvine League with no seniors, no previous season to draw on, no practice field and no locker room. While the Edison record was respectable, especially for a new school (with no seniors), they had suffered two crushing losses; first, a JV player, Mark Nylon, had died from head injuries a few weeks before the game (the result of a congenital deformity of his brain lining), and the loss of Sam Fuga, who suffered paralysis caused by broken vertebrae in another game.
On the crisp fall night of November 14, 1969, when the newly-opened Edison fielded their team of juniors under Coach Vail, they faced the league-leading and ClF-bound Fountain Valley team under the leadership of Bruce Pickford. The Barons were riding high from wins over their previous five opponents and a tie with Loara (the master of the Irvine League).
The Chargers came into the game with a 3-3-2 record to face the Barons with a 5-2-1 record. At Edison, there wasn’t much of a build-up, it was just the end of the season. At Fountain Valley, it was expected to be a “warm-up” game, whipping the “upstarts” for the BIG games coming up in the CIF Play-Offs.
The game was played in the stadium at Huntington Beach High School before a overflow crowd of an estimated 4600 fans. The Chargers were led by the junior quarterback, Jerry Hinojosa, and at the Barons’ head was senior quarterback, John Svoboda. Edison took a 7-0 lead in the first quarter and continued to lead at the half 13-7. The third quarter saw Edison leading 21-14. With 8:17 left in the fourth quarter, Svaboda connected with a ten-yard pass to bring the score to 21-20, Edison. The Barons then lined up to win with a two-point conversion play. Svoboda dropped back to pass, but before he could get it off he was “dropped in his tracks” by Edison’s Rocky Whan. That would be the last time Fountain Valley rallied to scoring position. Edison won, 21-20, dashing the Barons’ dreams of CIF. The Chargers had come in with a curious blend of youth, tears and sweat that kept them going, and the rivalry began.
For the record, the Chargers had heaped up 14 first downs, 344 yards rushing, 74 yards passing, and had punted twice for a total of 36 yards. They had fumbled twice for a loss of one yard, and had five penalties for a loss of 57 yards. The Barons closed with 14 first downs, 145 yards rushing, 174 yards passing, two punts for 33 yards, two interceptions, no fumbles, and one penalty for five yards.
The following year the Chargers again defeated the Barons, this time 28-6. With an overall record of 10-0-0, the Chargers went on to the CIF Finals, emerging victorious over the talented Lompoc for the CIF crown in Division 3-A. Today,
BELL HISTORY AND TRIVIA
In 1975 the Activities Coordinators of both schools came up with the idea of using an animal as a mascot for the game. Dave Hagen, Activities Coordinator of FVHS came up with the idea of a cannon that would remain with the winning school until the next game. Ben Garrett of Edison also thought it was a great idea. However both principals vetoed the idea when they found out that the World War II Howitzer could actually fire. Sitting in an antique shop in rural Mission Viejo was an old rusty train bell waiting to be discovered… After agreeing to purchase the bell with student body
funds Dave and Ben drove to Mission Viejo in Dave’s VW bug. The bell was too large to fit into the VW and Dave had to return with a larger vehicle. Shop classes at both schools reconditioned the bell and it was presented to the winner of the 1975 game which was Edison. Since this time the bell has made its annual visit to the field and has returned home with the winning team. It is displayed in the Administration Office of the winning team. The clapper has been removed because of a crack in the bell much like the famous Liberty Bell and the plaque with the annual scores has also been removed.
ONE AND ONLY TIE*
On October 4, 1974 Fountain Valley and Edison play to their first and only tie, 0-0 as the defenses showcased. Fountain Valley misses two field goals, the last one coming with no time left in the game. Edison had a 66-yard touchdown pass from Nate Ching to Steve Hines which was nullified by a penalty.
WHERE’S HAS THE GAME BEEN PLAYED?
The first game in 1969 was played before an overflow crowd of 4,600 fans. To accommodate larger crowds the game was moved to Orange Coast College, and then to Anaheim Stadium where the game was played in front of a crowd rumored to be 29,000 strong. The game was moved back to Orange Coast College where the games sold out well before kick-off time. In 20 03 the Bell game was moved to Edison International Field and in 2004 the game was played at Angel Stadium (same location, different name). This year the Bell game returns to Orange Coast College.
In the past 48 years, there have been 33 wins for Edison and 14 wins for Fountain Valley and 1 tie: