Tag Archives: memories

Battle of the Bell — Cameron vs. Rockdale

That picture is my attempt to be all “bad ass” and stuff. It didn’t work, but I am wearing my Battle of the Bell t-shirt for tonight’s big game.

Battle of the bell?

Big game?

Yes, tonight is the night my high school plays its #1 rival, a competition that has long been called “The Battle of the Bell.”  The Cameron Yoeman take on the Rockdale Tigers, and while I live over 800 miles away, I still feel that old competition course through my veins.

According to the History of Rockdale, Milam County Website, (and, yes, I am quoting word-for-word here):
The Rockdale-Cameron game is one of the state’s best rivalry games.Since 1954, the winner has proudly rung a big brass victory bell, which is symbolic of Milam County football supremacy. The bell, taken from a steam locomotive, was donated to the two schools by the Rockdale, Sandow & Southern Railroad in 1954. Bragging rights to Milam County football supremacy come with the bell; therefore, the two communities encourage their charges to bring home the brass beauty for another year. Over the years the bell has helped fuel one of Texas high school football’s longest and most-storied rivalries.

That same bell was the one that we fought over when I was in high school. I was proud when the bell came back to Cameron one year, we did repaint it the more traditional half maroon and gray (Cameron) and half blue and gold (Rockdale). It didn’t last though, and each year it went back to being painted the color of whatever school had it for that year.

The bell broke multiple times over the years, and one time was actually stolen and thrown into the Little River (which runs through Milam County). I have to say, I had plenty of time even I wanted to throw the bell in the river. The rivalry could get as ugly and nasty as any college rivalry until I had times I wondered if it was worth the stress. However, at the end of the day, I will always have an interest in the rivalry.

As I said, the bell broke many times over, and in 2001 it was replaced with a new, almost identical, brass bell by Yoe High School graduate Catherine Thomas. Fitting considering the fact that my CAMERON YOEMEN hold the winning record for the series. According to a post on the Cameron Yoeman Facebook page, we won 38 times in the 55 meetings: 1954, 1955, 1957, 1958, 1960, 1964, 1965, 1969, 1971-75, 1978, 1979, 1981-87, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1996 – 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008

Hopefully tonight we will make it win 39 in 56.

This is one of the very few years Cameron and Rockdale will battle without being in the same district. In fact, currently Cameron is ranked 2A, while Rockdale remained 3A in the recent district realignments. In the past, this game has been left for the last game of the season. Often its even been the game that decided which team would move into playoffs.

This year, it is played early and with nothing but a bell and bragging rights on the line… oh that and to move on with an undefeated season. When it comes to this game, district rankings and the years win-loss stats matter none, though. This is about heart and a deeper rivalry that Hollywood blockbusters are made from. I’ve lived that rivalry… and tonight I sit here in my old Battle of the Bell t-shirt with my school’s song playing in my head…

“On Yoe High” (Written by Portia Kruse and Francis Cox) Praise to our school we sing, each his loyal honor brings; Together we the Yoemen stand, to spread our praise through all the land.  To represent as best we can, in all our competition, and our hopes, our pride, our love compound in you, dear school.

Yay Maroon!  Yay Gray! Yay Yoemen! ALL THE WAY!!

Fight Song: “Our Boys Will Shine Tonight” Our boys will shine tonight; our boys will shine. Our boys will shine tonight; our boys will shine. Our boys will shine tonight; our boys will shine. When the sun goes down and the moon comes up, our boys will shine.

>>  Post game update:  Cameron Yoemen take the win 35 – 13!  GO BIG YOE!! <<

Yearly Update

Years The Bell Has Gone Home to…

Cameron: 2015, 2013, 2012, 2010, 2008, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997, 1996, 1994, 1993, 1991, 1990, 1989, 1987, 1986, 1985, 1984, 1983, 1982, 1981, 1979, 1978, 1975, 1974, 1973, 1972, 1971, 1969, 1965, 1964, 1960, 1958, 1957, 1955, 1954

Rockdale: 2017, 2016, 2014, 2011, 2009, 2007, 2003, 1995, 1992, 1988, 1980, 1977, 1976, 1970, 1968, 1967, 1966, 1963, 1962, 1961, 1959, 1956

Tally: 42 – 22

Friday night lights

High School FootballI live a few blocks away from a high school, and in the fall we can listen to football games being played from our backyard. Tonight, I have my windows open and I’m listening to a combination of the football announcer, the band playing and crickets chirping. Guy Fieri and Diners, Drive-ins and Dives flashes across my almost-muted TV.

This is a fairly typical Friday night for me these days, but back in high school Fridays made for long days.

I was in the marching band, first as a flute player then later as a member of the colorguard. Friday nights meant game time. There’s a reason why all the high school football movies are set in Texas. There’s a rabid love for the game at the high school level that I just truly don’t think anywhere else can duplicate. There’s a passion and a love for football across the country, but its definitely amped up a notch or two down there.

In my hometown, I think we lived for football season. It’s when the town came to life. It’s when there was a little extra pride to be found in everyone’s eyes.

As I said, Fridays were long days for me during football season. I lived in the country, which meant when school let out, I almost never went home between school and game-time. There just wasn’t enough time to make it a worthwhile trip. Many times I would leave home around 7:30 am, and I’d not return home until well after midnight (if it was an away game). But that didn’t matter. I ran on an adrenaline that no cup of coffee could ever recreate.

It was all about the lights and the field. It was about the war that was going to be waged goal line to goal line. It was the sound of the band and the smell of the popcorn. It was the little kids watching with glowing eyes; some day they’d play the game or be the cheerleader. It’s the socializing side of the night, when friends would get together and gossip about their week. It was the parents watching with pride (and the mothers watching with a little big of fear). It was the sound of the announcer’s voice booming over the speakers.


Eventually, though, we all graduate. We play our last game. March our last half-time show. Cheer our last cheer. Sing our school song with arms around our classmates for the last time. We close that chapter of our lives and we all move on…

…until we hear that announcer across a quiet late-summer/early-fall night. We hear the horns and the drums and the clash of helmets. And if only for three or hour hours we go back to those high school glory-days and let today’s worries and stresses get washed away.

It’s the magic of the Friday night lights, and I, for one, am glad they are back.