Rivalry in Quarantine

Marshfield High School’s long-time rival has been the North Bend Bulldogs. The annual Pirate vs Bulldog rivalry game draws spectators from around the community. However, sporting restrictions with COVID-19 has changed the nature of games for the 2020-2021 school year. Spectators are no longer allowed in the stadium, and all participants are required to wear a CDC approved face mask or covering.

North Bend High School senior Aidan Nolan plays on both the football and soccer teams. Nolan has been participating in extracurriculars for all four years of high school, and according to Nolan he is very active in the student section, especially any rivialy games.

“School pride is very important to me,” Nolan said. “One of my favorite things about North Bend is how seriously we take the school rivalry. It’s good fun.”

Marshfield student Conor Heckard is a member of the Upbeats, the MHS dance team, and also a member of the tennis team.

“The Pirate vs Bulldog rivalry is really intense,” Heckard said. “It’s super fun being in the student section. But now, because of COVID, we can’t be around the football team so it’s hard to get in school spirit.”

The rivalry football game is statistically the most-attended game of the season.

“When you’re out and about in town the rivalry brings people together,” Nolan said. “I’ll be wearing North Bend gear and I’ll have people come up to me and say ‘go Bulldogs’ or say ‘the Pirates are better.’ I really like that the whole community can relate to each other and always have something to talk about because of it.”

According to Heckard, traditionally both student sections would coordinate and one school would “white out” (dress in all white) while the other school would “black out” (dress in all black). Students also paint their faces in school colors, and sit with schoolmates to provide school unity. After the game, social media is typically flooded with pictures from both sides celebrating or sulking in their loss. The home team is switched every year; in 2019 the game was held at the North Bend stadium, so 2020 was MHS’s turn to host.

Historically, Marshfield High School wins the football games, but in 2019 North Bend took the victory.

“I was a little disappointed when we (Marshfield) lost,” Heckard said. “But, I have a feeling we can pull ahead this year.”

The 2020 OSAA football season has already started and MHS is off to a strong start. Due to COVID-19 football opponents are slim, so Marshfield and North Bend are mainly competing against one another.

“It’s been interesting playing during COVID,” said Nolan. “The masks challenge us. It feels like we’re doing breathing restriction workouts, but forever. I know that they keep us safe so we actively wear them during practice and games.”

According to Nolan, Marshfield’s football team has improved from last season and he is excited to see how this season will play out.

“North Bend has no plans to make up for spectators the rivalry game as of right now,” Nolan said, “But I really hope we will do something by the end of the season. I really want my senior year rivalry game special.”