Redefining Rivalry: Rockhurst Rivalry 2016


Emily Walter

The mob was restless. It was the chanting, buzzing mob of white glitter, bandanas,T-shirts and body paint that couldn’t wait one more second to enter the Rockhurst home football stadium. 

Haney collected senior Emma Henderson’s ticket first, sending her into an automatic sprint, white beads flying around her neck, past the gate. There was an empty set of stands ahead of her, about to be packed full. 

Over the years, the Rockhurst rivalry lived on through Chick-fil-A contests, basketball games and constantly proving which was the “better school.” This was the renewal of the football rivalry which fed the raging fire even more. 

“This was the game that everyone has wanted forever,” senior Regan Meyer said. 

The game so publicized that it almost took place at the Sporting KC stadium. The game that brought students in at 7 a.m. on Tuesday to buy tickets that were sold out before first hour. After a 34 year drought of football competition with Rockhurst, it was time to unleash the two schools against each other. 

“Playing Rockhurst in football was a huge deal because they’ve been talking trash on us for years since we’ve never played them, and they never had any proof,” junior Frank Opelka said. 

The week of the game, Twitter flamed with insults thrown back and forth between Rockhurst and East students. But because of their social media blackout, East football boys reluctantly scrolled past tweets shaming Kansas football, even humiliating East’s accomplishment of winning state two years ago. Their fingers itched to press the “tweet” button, to fight back and defend their school, but were reminded that Twitter “beef” wouldn’t help their game.

“You really want to focus more on the game itself than the drama surrounding it,” senior offensive lineman Peter Haynes said. “We tried to make sure it didn’t get into people’s head who we were playing because in the end it was just another good team that we had to face.” 

On the evening of September 16th, the football boys set foot onto the field, trying to convince themselves that it was just another game. But for the hundreds of students rumbling in the stands, it was the opposite — this was the game of the year. Two rowdy student sections against each other: one side of shirtless boys wearing only plaid skirts and face paint, the other side decked out in blinding white. 

“I was looking forward to that game all year, and it was definitely my favorite game that I’ve ever been to at East,” senior Teagan Noblit said. 

Even when the Rockhurst student section stole the “Icelandic” chant, crushing East fans, they responded by simply doing it better. Even when the Rockhurst side chanted about them “stealing” East girls, East students chanted back, “Nice skirts” in defense. It wasn’t just a fight against two football teams, it was a fight against student sections. 

“It was the craziest game I’ve ever been to,” Opelka said. “It was so close and fun to watch because both teams were playing well.”

The final buzzer rang out, echoing among the 2,000 spectators as they glanced at the 26-20 score, Rockhurst. The drums and chanting and jumping all ceased, leaving nothing but the memories of the heart wrenching game behind.

Even after the loss, East students still felt the need for more, for a rematch to prove their worth. The Rockhurst rivalry lives on, pumping through the veins of East students.