Time to add trophy to Fallon-Fernley rivalry | NevadaAppeal.com

Time to add trophy to Fallon-Fernley rivalry

Steve Puterski

No one expected any other finale, well, perhaps in Southern Nevada.

Still, the gap between the South and North in Division I-A softball is still noticeable. Yet, the rivalry between Fallon and Fernley is one of the best in the state of Nevada.

The two bitter rivals battled and clawed for the state softball title last weekend, yet Fallon walked away from Fernley with its third trophy in four years.

The two programs are led by a pair of intense, yet smart coaches, great ballplayers and close proximity to each other, relatively speaking for rural towns.

Fallon and Fernley make each other better, constantly chasing and working to out-perform their cross-valley nemesis. The players, meanwhile, know each other well from competing together and against each other in summer leagues. That goes for just about every other sport too.

So when the high school season rolls around, it is easy to see how and why the intensity steps up during every contest between the two schools.

On the line is bragging rights, which is nice, but an addition must be made. A trophy.

Whether it is for the winner of the annual football game or to the school who accumulates the most wins/points throughout the school year (See Nevada/UNLV) is up to the schools’ administrations.

Or, wait for it … both. Two trophies, one for the winner of the football game and one for the best athletic program that year.

Both schools share the cost, unless a business can be found to donate the trophy. The search committee may have to look to Reno in that case, just to be neutral and avoid a decades-long feud about how the trophy looks better for one school than the other (I can already see it).

Meanwhile in Las Vegas, most rivals, not to mention just about every major college program, plays in a trophy game. It is one of, if not the, biggest games of the season. For example, when I played for Chaparral we had the “Cleat” game against Eldorado.

NFL legend and hall of famer Merlin Olsen, famous from the Los Angeles Rams’ Fearsome Foursome defensive line in the 1960s, donated one of his cleats, which was bronzed and placed atop wooden base with engraved placards displaying the score of each game.

The winner, obviously, kept the trophy until the next game one year later.

Losing the “Cleat” my junior season was brutal. Winning it my senior year, however, was sweet as each one of my teammates held the trophy and gazed at its history.

But that type of history has just been reignited for Fallon and Fernley due to Fallon’s presence in the former 4A for more than two decades, while Fernley resided in the 3A.

One thought for the trophy is a two-sided letter F. One side would be in Fallon’s font, the other in Fernley’s. The game, or season-long trophy, could be dubbed “The Battle for F-Town,” or something like that, preferably better.

If the trophy goes football specific, there are a pair NFL players — Harvey Dahl and Josh Mauga — from the valley may be more than willing to donate an item to the cause.

Now, though, brings the opportunity for the schools to embrace their renewed rivalry.

Steve Puterski is the sports editor of the Lahontan Valley News and can be contacted at sputerski@lahontanvalleynews.com.