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Righetti, St. Joseph football teams meet at annual luncheon

Just two days before an historic high school football game between two local rivals is played, an annual sports tradition was renewed Wednesday afternoon in Orcutt.

For about an hour, representatives from Righetti and St. Joseph gathered for lunch at Rooney’s Blast 825.

Football team captains, as well as coaches and school officials all met during the luncheon.

It’s an event created in 2010 when the cross-street rivalry between the two football programs was renewed after a long hiatus.

“It’s great to carry on the tradition that Righetti and St. Joe’s has had for years,” said Righetti senior Caleb Thomas. “It’s nice to meet all the players because we’ve been friends ever since we’ve playing in youth, so it’s great to just meet up with them one last time before we go to battle.”

“It’s definitely cool. As you can probably tell, we’ve grown up with all these kids, so it’s definitely fun to see them again,” said St. Joseph senior Chase Artopoeus. “It really gets you ready and in the right mindset for this big game that’s about to happen.”

Friday’s showdown between the Warriors (8-1, 3-0) and Knights (7-2, 3-0) is scheduled for Righetti’s Warrior Stadium at 7 p.m.

The winner will earn the inaugural Mountain League championship.

The game marks the first time the two teams will ever play with a league championship on the line.

“Anyone who is involved with this game, whether they are players or on the coaching staff, they’ll never be a part of something like this again,” Thomas said. “Two 3-0 teams in league that are competing for a league title, it’s something spectacular that we’ll never be a part of again.”

School officials are estimating the game could draw a huge crowd that could attract between 3,000 to 5,000 spectators.

“It’s definitely the best rivalry that I’ve been a part of,” said Artopoeus, who spent his first two high school years at Righetti. “The whole town comes out. It’s exciting. You get to play against those guys that you’ve grown up with and went to school with. It’s definitely going to be a fun game.”

In addition to the league title, the winner will also take home the game’s annual trophy in the “Battle for the Shield.”

St. Joseph has won the shield the past two seasons, but overall, since the rivalry was renewed the shield trophy was created in 2010, the all-time series is tied 4-4.

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