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Righetti, St. Joseph football players meet for lunch before big game

Battle for the Shield Lunch
Dave Alley/KEYT
St. Joseph and Righetti football players meet for lunch two days before the "Battle for the Shield" rivalry game.

ORCUTT, Calif. -- A local sports tradition returned to Orcutt Wednesday afternoon.

For about an hour, representatives from the Righetti and St. Joseph high school football teams gathered for the annual "Battle for the Shield" luncheon.

Taking part in the event at Blast 825 Brewery were team captains, coaches and school administrators.

"It shows that we can be one with each other and come together and be a whole community as one, as two opposing schools, and two opposing opponents can come together and have a peaceful meal," said St. Joseph senior Jacob Medrano.

"I was very grateful," said Righetti senior Chase Reynoso. "My teammates, my coaches, my staff. Very thankful. The food was outstanding and thank you for whoever put this together and it's a great way to see our opponents, talk to our opponents, see the other coaches, see the other staff."

The lunch has been held over the past several years.

It was created by St. Joseph grads Pat and Dan Cusack, along with Righetti alum Mark Betts.

The trio wanted to establish a yearly tradition that would bring members of the teams together in a friendly environment before the rivals meet on the gridiron.

Righetti and St. Joseph have played each year since 2010.

Before that, there was about a 20-year hiatus in the cross-street rivalry.

This year, the game means more than just area bragging rights since the Mountain League championship is also at stake.

St. Joseph enters the game all alone in first place with a league record of 2-0. Righetti is right behind with a league mark of 1-1.

Should the Knights win, the team would earn its second-straight Mountain League crown.

A Warriors victory would create a three-way tie for the championship with the Knights and Arroyo Grande Eagles.

St. Joseph is also looking to capture its fifth straight win in the series.

Since the rivalry was re-established in 2010, the Knights lead the series 5-4.

With the game just two days away, players are getting excited for kickoff to arrive.

"It's awesome," said St. Joseph senior Ethan Otremba. "It's always a high energy, very big game for us and we prepare hard every week, but this week, everyone is in focus and we're just ready for this game."

"It's exciting," said Righetti junior Kidasi Nepa. "Everyone is excited. I hear people are buying their tickets and getting to the game early because it's going to be a great atmosphere and I'm excited to be part of it. Take it in and play ball."

St. Joseph will host the game at Jay Will Stadium on Friday, Nov. 1. 

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

Friday Football Focus will provide a full recap of game later that night on KCOY 12 Central Coast News and NewsChannel 3 at 11:10 p.m.

Local Sports / News / Santa Maria - North County / Sports

Dave Alley

Dave Alley is a reporter and anchor at KCOY|KEYT|KKFX.

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