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Gilroy
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June 19, 2021

A friendly rivalry

For now, everyone is saying the right things. In reality,
though, this town might not be big enough for the two of them.
Nothing is as entrenched in this community – not even the roots
of a certain bulb known to be popular in these parts – more than
the Mustangs of Gilroy High. Sons and daughters, brothers and
sisters, aunts and uncles, and parents and grandparents have all
made their way from adolescence to adulthood in the halls of
GHS.
The color blue is part of them like the blood that runs in their
veins. The public school has been the unchallenged one-trick pony
in Gilroy.
But there is a new kid on the block: Christopher High.
GILROY – For now, everyone is saying the right things. In reality, though, this town might not be big enough for the two of them.

Nothing is as entrenched in this community – not even the roots of a certain bulb known to be popular in these parts – more than the Mustangs of Gilroy High. Sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, and parents and grandparents have all made their way from adolescence to adulthood in the halls of GHS.

The color blue is part of them like the blood that runs in their veins. The public school has been the unchallenged one-trick pony in Gilroy.

But there is a new kid on the block: Christopher High.

The school appears affable enough at first glance, looking as if it will ingratiate itself without stepping on too many toes. But the goodwill of CHS – which is all archways and glass glimmering under the sun – seems like it could be fleeting when considering the Cougars’ lofty goals and expectations.

“I’d like to see it as a good, friendly rivalry,” CHS head football coach Tim Pierleoni says.

Pierleoni emphasizes friendly.

“We’re hoping to make it a longstanding rivalry with a lot of tradition,” he says, “kind of like two brothers who go at it but come together after it’s over.”

Were it not for the respect he and GHS coach Greg Garcia have for one another, it would be almost impossible to imagine. Neither is looking to settle for being mediocre. But the lives of both coaches have been intertwined for decades, making the talk of friendly competition easier to fathom.

Garcia’s father coached Pierleoni while he was playing football at Gavilan, and Pierleoni coached Garcia at the same college after the first-year leader of the Mustangs graduated from GHS. Each has their own theories on the game.

“We have two different philosophies,” Garcia says. “He likes his Wildcat defense, I like more of a 4-4 (base defense).

“Tim likes to throw the ball a bit, but he’s more of a pound-the-rock guy.”

If matchups make fights, the differences in style should provide plenty of intrigue in the future. The pair will not see each other on opposing sidelines until next year, when the Cougars add a varsity program filled mostly with juniors. (The school currently offers only freshmen and junior varsity football. The freshmen for both teams will play one another on Oct. 16.)

When that varsity game takes place, however, it will be at Garcia-Elder Sports Complex on the GHS campus. The competition that night could form a division in Gilroy like a 50-yard line.

“I say it’s going to be like any town with two teams,” Garcia says. “Eventually, it’s going to be a rivalry.”

A rivalry Pierleoni believes will supplant the Prune Bowl between Gilroy and Hollister.

“Without a doubt, it will be a bigger rivalry,” he says.

If that’s the case, Gilroy better get its popcorn ready.

Gilroy Mustangs

Date Opponent Location Time

Sept. 4 Live Oak Morgan Hill 7:30pm

Sept. 11 Archbishop Mitty San Jose 7:00pm

Sept. 18 Atascadero Gilroy 7:30pm

Sept. 25 Palo Alto Palo Alto 7:00pm

Oct. 2 Everett Alvarez Gilroy 7:30pm

Oct. 9 Salinas Salinas 7:30pm

Oct. 23 Alisal Alisal 7:30pm

Oct. 30 Palma Gilroy 7:30pm

Nov. 6 North Salinas Gilroy 7:30pm

Nov. 13 San Benito San Benito 7:30pm

Christopher Cougars

Date Opponent

Sept. 3 Scotts Valley

Sept. 11 St. Joseph

Sept. 17 California High

Sept. 25 John C. Kimball

Oct. 9 Liberty Ranch

Oct. 29 Liberty Ranch

Nov. 6 John C. Kimball

Nov. 14 Marin Catholic

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