Indians Rain Dance on Rochester 17-0
Written by: Billy Splain on Saturday, October 25th, 2008
MONACA, Pa- The year was 1915, the city was Monaca, a small industrial town that sits along the Ohio River in Beaver County. Across that very body of water is Rochester, which was also a small town that relied heavily on steel manufacturing. Every October the two towns would meet; not for dinner, or a meeting, but on the football field for one of the biggest rivalries in all of Western Pennsylvania.
Fast forward 93 years later, the industrial plants are closed, there are no more steel mills, however the rivalry is still there for the two towns of Rochester and Monaca.
Tonight, the 95th game between the towns had a lot the line; for Rochester, an unblemished season, a Big Seven title, and a shot a the #1 seed in the WPIAL Playoffs. For Monaca, a share of the Big Seven title and a 8-1 record to be sure noticed by the WPIAL in the playoffs. There is just one other thing that was worth more then any of that. A bridge, yes that’s right…a bridge; not just any bridge, but the name of the steel structure that connected the two towns, was up for grabs yet again on Friday night in Monaca.
Since 1987 this Rivalry has been called the “Battle of the Bridge” and since then it has been nothing but a battle every time the two teams took the field. Tonight was no exception. Out of the 4,014 people that call Rochester home and the 6,286 that do the same for Monaca, at least half of them turned out to see what was an instant classic.
A steady down pour started as the Rams made the way across the bridge with a police escort just 8 minutes before kickoff. That down pour continued all game and it was the Monaca running game that took advantage. After a Rochester fumble at their own 17 Monaca looked to be the first to lead vs. the rams this season with a 26 yard field goal. The attempt was wide left, but in the second quarter the Indians would accomplish that feat on a 73 yard run by Zach Garber.
Monaca would add to their 7-0 lead with just seconds remaining in the first half. Freshman Jacob Schooley picked off a pass and returned it to the Rochester 5 yard line, one play later Tony Reda found Skyler Schultz all alone in the endzone for a score.
Monaca would cap off the scoring with a 33 yard field goal in the fourth quarter. Rochester gave up the same amount of points they had all season. The Rams had shutout 5 of the 8 teams they had played coming into the game, tonight they got to see what it was like on the other end of a shutout something that hasn’t happen since December 10th, 2004 when the Rams took a 35-0 loss in the PIAA State Finals to Southern Columbia, who they shutout a few years pior in the 2001 Finals 16-0.
So the 95th game of the “Battle of the Bridge” was as good as any. Rochester will not have to make the call to PennDot to change the name of the world’s largest trophy…yes that’s right the first battle of the bridge made the Guinness Book of the World records for that feat. “Too bad we can’t raise it” Zach Garber said “But tonight, the way we played, I feel like we could of.”
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