Concealed in a trophy case in the front office lies an old, bronzed track shoe that used to belong to former Carmel High teacher and athletic director Lloyd Miller. The shoe has become a well-known, historical icon on the Monterey Peninsula, but it represents more than just a football game.
“It represents both of the communities: Carmel and Pacific Grove,” head football coach Golden Anderson says. “The communities take a lot of pride in the game.”
For the past 64 years, “The Shoe” has been passed back and forth between the schools as they come together and compete for the bronze trophy in the annual Shoe Game.
“It’s this wonderful symbol of this great natural rivalry,” says Health teacher Jeff Wright, who played in the Shoe Game for Carmel High back in 1963. “If you have ever played in a Shoe Game, you remember it literally for the rest of your life.”
Wright still remembers seeing PG’s fullback walking off the field in tears as Carmel dominated his senior year game.
“[It was] by far the biggest crowd we’ve ever played for as high schoolers,”Anderson recalls about his senior year game in 1996. Anderson played as a junior and senior, lost one and won one, both of which were determined by a touchdown at the end of the game.
In Anderson’s first year as head coach in 2009, Carmel came out and made Shoe Game history in the team’s dominating 78-6 victory. The Shoe has been in Carmel’s possession the past three years, and the players are determined to keep it for another year.
“It’s definitely the most exciting game of the season,” says senior wide receiver Mason Braun, who has played in the Shoe Game twice before. “It’s not just a game for the team, but for our community as well.”
Braun has been a part of the varsity football team for three years now, and as a senior he knows how important the game is.
“I expect all of the seniors to leave everything on the field and have tons of energy. We should have no regrets,” he adds. “It’s hard to find any high school game that’s as fun as playing in the Shoe Game.”
“It’s going to be a hard-fought game,”Anderson comments about the upcoming Nov. 10 game.
The Padres will have home field advantage when they host the Breakers.
In a side-by-side comparison, both teams are of equal status. Carmel dominates in passing, with sophomore quarterback Connor Marden’s impressive 72 percent pass completion rate, while PG tends to run the ball more with their junior star running back Kevin Tesky.
“I’m excited,” says Marden about his first varsity game against PG. “I expect us to do our jobs and play well.”
Over the years, PG has a total of 32 wins to Carmel’s 30 with two ties holding the teams together, yet Carmel has scored over 130 more points than PG, 1,354 to 1,242.
The PG versus Carmel rivalry has spread beyond football as well. All the other Carmel teams seem to have a desire to dominate PG’s athletics throughout the year.
“Any time you beat PG, it’s a great thing,” Wright says. “[Even] junior varsity tiddlywinks.”