Fresno City College football coach Tony Caviglia remembers what the atmosphere was like Nov. 23, 2002. So does Rams quarterbacks coach Mark Hetherington.
It was the annual “Battle for the Pump” game between Fresno City and Reedley, a tradition that started in 1972.
Caviglia and Hetherington don’t necessarily recall that 2002 date because the Tigers put an end to the Rams’ run of 35 consecutive victories with a 28-21 win; no, they most remember the estimated crowd of 10,000 who saw the game at Ratcliffe Stadium, the most in the past 18 years. The teams entered that game Nos. 1-2 in NorCal at the time.
“Fresno City College and Reedley have been a fixture in this town for many years,” Caviglia said. “A lot of people that went to college and former players that played in this game … there’s a long, storied history.”
He’s hoping to see a good turnout Saturday when this version of the Rams (2-2) take on the Tigers (0-4) at 6 p.m. at Ratcliffe Stadium.
The Rams are coming off a 38-35 loss to American River in double overtime, while the Tigers fell 21-19 to Hartnell.
Hetherington played quarterback for the Rams in the memorable 2002 game and said he was honored to have played in the series.
“That was a real college football game that night,” he said. “The atmosphere was unbelievable. We were used to getting good-sized crowds because we were having success at the time. That night was off the chains. It was loaded.”
Caviglia will still remind himself of the 2002 game with a wallpaper photo on his desktop computer of the crowd that filled the home side.
“I put it up there every once in a while,” he said. “I want people to come watch our kids play. Even though we lost, I had numerous calls how exciting the football game was and how much of a college football atmosphere it was. People are busy and have their lives, too, but I would like to have Fresno City and Reedley people come out and support our players.”
Rose out – Fresno City wide receiver Marcus Rose (shoulder) is out two to four weeks after suffering a sprained AC joint against American River on a punt return. He underwent an MRI on Monday, and tests came back negative.
Costly mistake – Fresno City picked up an interception in overtime against American River and needed just a field goal to end it.
However, Rams running back Nate Jones plowed through the defensive line but was tackled from the side and fumbled at the 4-yard line. The Beavers then countered with a 27-yard field goal for the win.
“It was a big growing-up lesson for me,” Jones said. “I’ve got to know that plays are going to be made on both sides of the ball. It’s not like those guys don’t practice everyday or don’t work hard or watch film. It was a play that they won.”
Jones has 54 carries for 280 yards and three touchdowns this season.
Breast cancer awareness – The Rams will wear pink socks to help kick off breast cancer awareness month.
BATTLE FOR THE PUMP
Fresno City vs. Reedley
Past 10 meetings
2015: Fresno City 24, Reedley 21
2014: Fresno City 49, Reedley 44
2013: Fresno City 48, Reedley 7
2012: Fresno City 28, Reedley 24
2011: Fresno City 31, Reedley 0
2010: Fresno City 48, Reedley 13
2009: Fresno City 34, Reedley 6
2008: Reedley 41, Fresno City 28
2007: Reedley 42, Fresno City 40
2006: Fresno City 35, Reedley 6
Tickets for Saturday’s game: $9 adults/$1 students w/ASB card or $6 without
Sacramento (2-2) at Sequoias (3-1), 1 p.m.
Reedley (0-4) at Fresno City (2-2), 6 p.m.
Golden Coast Conference
West Hills (2-2, 1-0) at Cabrillo (0-4, 0-0), 6 p.m.