The temps will be cold as the tradition continues tonight. When the Cavemen were known as the Maroons, they played their first Backyard Brawl against Penn, circa 1966, beating the Kingsmen 7-0. The Backyard Brawl is the last game of the football season before sectionals. The Cavemen had been winless in this matchup until 2009 when the Cavemen beat the Kingsmen 26-10. The Cavemen then beat them in 2010 and again in 2012 on their way to the state championship game. However, since 2013, the Kingsmen have come out on top for the Backyard Brawl.
At Mishawaka High School (MHS), The Backyard Brawl has been the most highly anticipated game of the season for generations, fueled by the local infamous rivalry Cavemen and Kingsmen rivalry. Whether it’s the first or last Brawl, it’s always intense game for the players at MHS.
“For my last Backyard Brawl, I’m hoping for a win. This year, we’ve played in a lot of games that have been close, and this game most likely won’t be any different. Hopefully, our way of finding a knack to win continues,” senior offensive captain CJ Fisher said.
“I’m hoping Penn regrets coming against us. We regret every year not preparing enough, not working hard enough, but this year we’re ready,” senior Micah Washington added.
Senior players aren’t the only ones hoping for a victory this year. Freshman Justin Watford said, “Obviously, I’m hoping that we win. I’m hoping we keep our mentality that we’ve had every game that we’ve played all season. It brings everyone together and makes them play harder.”
As the senior varsity players approach their last rival game, they have some parting wisdom to share with their underclassmen teammates.
“I’d advise freshmen to take in the moment. There is nothing like the Backyard Brawl. Soak it in. Then focus and get the job done,” Fisher added. “It’s not the only game that matters. Put everything you have into it and work hard. Stand by one another and everything will work out,” Washington added.
This year’s Brawl is hosted by Penn High School. Gates open at 4PM for the 7PM kickoff.
The Cavemen will kick of sectionals with an away game against Hobart on Oct. 19th.