FALLS CHURCH, Va. (WUSA 9) — The donated deck bell off the USS Jeb Stuart became the trophy of a friendly rivalry between two neighboring high schools. Fifty-four years later and the rivalry, known as the Bell Game, is still going strong.
The Jaguars of Falls Church and the Raiders of J.E.B. Stuart will battle in the Bell Game Friday. Winner gets to keep the bell all year long.
Falls Church currently has possession of the bell and coach Said Aziz said the Jaguars plan to keep it that way.
“This is a game where records go out the window,” Aziz said. “We play for bragging rights.”
Aziz said the Jaguars are in the playoffs and this rivalry game gives the team good momentum going into the post season.
He said him and coach Roy Ferri from J.E.B. Stuart have a mutual respect for each other and are friends on Facebook.
“He is a really person,” Aziz said. “He goes above and beyond for the kids.”
Raiders coach Ferri said this is the most important game of the year. He said it is a rivalry unlike any other.
“When the players come back for their 10 year reunion, their record is not going to matter,” Ferri said. “People will be asking them if they won the Bell Game.”
Ferri said the Bell Game is a true neighborhood rivalry, so much so that grocery store employees debate over which school will win. He said at one point Falls Church and Stuart were the same school. The kids grew up together and Ferri said the intensity level is a lot higher for this game.
“It’s one of the games that you have to win,” Ferri said.
He said it is a different game from any other game in the season.
“It is a date circled on the calendar all year round,” Ferri said.
The Jaguars and Raiders will play for the bell at 7:30 p.m. Friday at J.E.B. Stuart High School.