The Rice Bowl perpetual trophy has been fought over by rival schools, Williams and Pierce, since 1925. This year, the trophy will be residing with the victors at Pierce until the next bowl gives Williams the chance for revenge.
Under a full Harvest Moon, luck was with the Bears for a win of 38-12.
Hundreds of fans flocked to the first game at Arbuckle’s Gregg LeMaster Field field since it was upgraded. The improvements included new lighting, walkways, scoreboard, speakers, and a galvanized aluminum grandstand to hold 758 people. The old bleachers were refurbished and certified to accommodate the throng of visitors.
The evening was kicked off with a JV game, which the Bears won 12-8.
Out of the gate, the varsity teams went toe-to-toe with both teams scoring early, but it was Pierce that came out on top by the end of the first quarter.
Williams senior Aldo Ambriz rushed for a touchdown, and on defense contributed with five tackles and caught an impressive eight receptions for 101 yards. Senior Alex Tapia for the Bears was unstoppable although his tackle numbers do not reflect his contributions to the team.
By the end of the second quarter, the Bears had a more-than-doubled lead over Williams.
A really good punt by Williams put the Yellowjackets on the 20-yard line with two minutes to go but the Bears held firm, pushing the Yellowjackets back to the 30-yard line thanks to a catch by Pierce’s Luke Voorhees. Pierce junior Alex Valencia was brought off the field after first responders treated him for an injury, and Yellowjacket Alan Martinez was injured but was able to walk off the field. The first half ended at a Pierce lead of 30-12.
After halftime, the Bears were able to push through Williams’ strong defense and pushed the score up to 38 during the third quarter, but this would be the last score for either team.
Yellowjacket Jesus Jauregui had 10 tackles and caused a fumble that stung the Bears. Williams senior Emiliano Navarro got in a tackle and had 12 carries for a total of 49 yards. Williams had doubled down on their efforts to slow the Bear’s momentum but they were unable to regain the mojo they started the game with. The teams were aggressive. Williams senior Alan Martinez was injured again on the second play of the fourth quarter.
Following the victory, the trophy was hoisted up by the triumphant Bears as friends and family came out to join the celebration. According to Coach Anthony Tapia, the Bears will be practicing on the mistakes for this coming Friday when East Nicholas Spartans come to Arbuckle.
“I think it’s a great win,” Tapia said. “We’re just glad we didn’t let our emotions get the best of us. Whoever looses their emotions in the game tends to loose so I’m glad our guys were able to stay levelheaded and just play the game.”
Tapia said he knew Williams’ offense was good but that they have been working on theirs too.
The Yellowjackets will continue away games on Friday when they go up to Willows and face the Honkers. ■