By MICHAEL COIT
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
The Egg Bowl — the annual Casa Grande-Petaluma bragging rights football contest — is off for at least the next two seasons.
After several weeks of talks, officials for the two schools decided to not renew the fall classic that began in 1974 and annually drew the largest crowds of the season.
“We met together and decided we would go our separate ways. We’re going to take a two-year hiatus, at least,” said Stephan Owens, assistant principal for athletics at Casa Grande.
Petaluma officials did not return phone calls.
One factor in the Egg Bowl’s demise was Casa Grande’s move to the North Bay League from the Sonoma County League next school year.
Another topic was the heat of the rivalry and some rough play and words during this season’s game.
Ending the Egg Bowl is a blow to fans, alumni and players, Owens said.
“The Egg Bowl is something that is pretty big. We definitely have thought about that,” he said.
Casa Grande and Windsor, the two largest SCL schools, are moving to the NBL. Piner and Elsie Allen, the two smallest NBL schools, will switch to the SCL.
The Gauchos need to schedule a stronger opponent than Petaluma for what now would be a nonleague football game, Owens said. Casa Grande is a Division 2 athletic program and Petaluma a Division 3 one — based on enrollment.
“We’re trying to be more competitive for what we’re doing in the North Coast Section. We’re going to want to look at opponents that will help with seeding and rankings,” Owens said.
Whatever their records, Casa Grande and Petaluma often played their best in the cross-town clash. The game was the biggest draw of the season for the host team.
Casa Grande’s decisive win at Petaluma in this season’s Egg Bowl, however, included some rough play. The teams combined for 20 penalties, many for roughing the passer, unsportsmanlike conduct or late hits.
“Sportsmanship could have been better on both sides,” Owens said. “There was just some discussion that it’s a rivalry we could improve on.”
In football at least, the rivalry has been sidelined.
You can reach Staff Writer Michael Coit at 521-5470 or firstname.lastname@example.org.