Bell Rings Red in the 117th Annual Bell Game
September 21, 2017
Tradition, rivalry, historic; some of many descriptions of the oldest rivalry in Southern Colorado, the Bell Game. Centennial and Central High School battled head to head in the 117th game, and it was a thriller full of excitement, nerves, and school spirit from beginning to end in a contest that saw the Bulldogs take home a 14-8 victory in only the second Bell Game to ever hit overtime.
As soon as the gates opened on Friday September 15, a sea of red flooded Dutch Clark Stadium, resulting in one of the biggest student sections recorded that embraced almost the entire middle section of bleachers. Football players could be seen warming up on the field, and everyone’s adrenaline skyrocketed as the realization that Bell Game 2017 was here. As soon as the countdown to kickoff clock hit 00:00 to indicate that it was 7:00pm, the student section flung confetti into the air and the 117th rivalry game was underway.
Opening drive, as well as the first half for the Centennial Bulldogs was very successful. The Bulldogs were able to hold Central to no scores, while Junior Running Back, Buddie Niccoli was able to break to the end zone for a touchdown in the second quarter. Before the first half came to an end, Bubba Rivera put more points up on behalf of the Bulldogs with a safety, accompanied by help from Senior, Donte Eames. With the Bulldogs leading the game, both teams headed to the locker rooms to prepare for the second half.
Neither team scored during the third quarter, but Central’s Quarterback Marcus Duran escaped the steadfast Bulldog defense, and made his way into the end zone. Centennial wasn’t able to answer with their own points, so the 2017 Bell Game continued into overtime.
Nerves were felt through the entire stadium, beaming from both supporting sides. Central won the coin toss, and Centennial’s fans could only hope that our defense could stop their talented Running Back, Nico Martin. As the Wildcats inched closer and closer to the goal line, a forced fumble caused Martin to lose the ball, and screams erupted from Centennial. Centennial running back, Ray Robinson, fought his way through Central’s defense and landed in the end zone, causing his teammates to dog pile him. “I almost died” claimed Robinson, “but it was a great feeling”.
First year coach Jeff Wilkerson said, “It was a great team win, but we have to continue to work as a team to win more games.” After all the celebrations at Dutch Clark came to an end, everyone rallied up at Centennial to celebrate the boys, and all their hard work. The Bulldog Nation could be heard celebrating the huge win from blocks away.
The Bulldogs are now 1-2, with more wins are on the way. The boys showed strength, determination, and discipline during the game, and those qualities will continue to be prominent in the rest of the season.