It's a tale as old as...well about 24 years.
Picture this. It's 1997 and, despite the fact that both Richland and Hanford high school have only been about five miles from each other since 1972, this is the first time they're facing each other on the football field. Now fast forward to 2021; today to be exact, where ever since, the battle between Hanford and Richland has been one of the MCC’s most anticipated matchups.
“We're excited. How can you not be excited for a cross-town rivalry?” said Hanford head coach Nick Baker.
But this go-around feels just a little bit different. With the conclusion of the construction of Hanford's football field in sight, Richland's Fran Rish stadium is next on the list to undergo renovations.
And considering that both the Falcons and the Bombers call Fran Rish home, this will be the last showdown between the two before what's lovingly referred to as "Bomber Bowl" changes forever.
“For me it's a tremendous amount of nostalgia.; said Richland head coach Mike Neidhold, ‘I saw my first Bomber game tucked inside my dad's overcoat when I was six-or-seven years old at Bomber Bowl. So, the fact that the Richland-Hanford game is the last game that will be played there as it sits now, it's a bit nostalgic and bittersweet.”
Despite the upcoming changes, excitement for the matchup is spreading all over Richland, but the Falcons have a tall task ahead of them. The all-time record between the two teams sits at 14 and 2 in favor of Richland, and the Bombers are coming off a 56-0 shellacking of Pasco. But Hanford's junior quarterback Cole Mullins remains optimistic, considering he got to learn from the last Hanford QB to knock off Richland in Easton Wise-Hyde,
“It means a lot. Just everything Easton taught me coming up to this point. I'm excited, it's always been a big rivalry game for us and I think we're going to come out and play our hearts out.”
Whether tonight's game makes it 15-2 or 14-3 remains to be seen, but one thing is certain, after today, things are definitely going to change.