The excitement behind the Mishawaka and Penn rivalry
photo credit: @MishawakaSports on twitter
The Mishawaka Penn football game is here, and not only are the stakes high, bragging rights between the two schools are always on the line. It has also been a battle between these two schools, no matter the records.
“The Penn rivalry is difficult to explain, if you’re not in the area, you’re playing not just for yourself but the community,” three year 2012 grad and Mishawaka starting quarterback Sam Schrader said, “I grew up playing against these guys, so they knew my strengths and my weaknesses and I knew theirs,” Schrader said.
“The Penn games were the biggest games, no matter the records,” Mishawaka alum runningback Ken Kahlenback, said. “When I played we won one of the three against Penn, the games were always standing room only.”
“Growing up the Penn rivalry was a huge deal, and something we always looked forward too,” Mishawaka alum defensive back Joey Schuster said, “it seemed almost impossible to beat Penn, because it was 30 years since we had beaten them. When we got to high school we had that feeling and weren’t going to let that streak continue, so when we beat them four times in a row, it was an amazing feeling,” Schuster said.
“When I was in high school, we had a farmer day, when we played Penn, it wasn’t as big as a school as it is now,” Mishawaka alum linebacker Jack Haughee said. “The rivalry is bragging rights for the city, we didn’t like them, and it’s still that way.”
The Mishawaka and Penn game always draws a great crowd, to create an amazing atmosphere, and alum still feel what it was like to play in it.
“We beat Penn four years in my career here, and it was unforgettable every time,” Schrader said. “Those games were some of the largest I have played in front of, so walking off knowing we accomplished something made us feel like we were on top of the world.”
“The desire to want to win this game has always been just as important, from when I played to when my son is playing (Cameron Kahlenback,)” Kahlenback said. “This might sound silly if you haven’t experienced it but the excitement and desire to win never goes away,” Kahlenback added.
“Beating Penn for the first time back in 2009 was extremely special because we felt like we were able to accomplish something that an entire community had waited a long time to see and you could feel the unity it brought to the entire community,” Schuster said, “The four wins we had against Penn during my junior and senior seasons are something I’ll never forget for the rest of my life and I am thankful to have been able to share those memories and experiences with all of my teammates.” The rivalry will always bring out the best in the two teams, but the respect is always there.
“Another thing that made the rivalry special was the mutual respect each team had for one another. During the game, it was extremely nasty and competitive, but when that final whistle blew, we had the respect for one another to walk over and shake the other’s hand after a hard fought battle.” Schuster said.
The Cavemen and Kingsmen battle for the NIC tonight and bragging rights are definitely, as always, on the line, and you can listen to the game on WSBT 96.1 FM.