By Aram Tolegian, Staff Writer
The stakes of the burgeoning rivalry between the Diamond Bar and Diamond Ranch football teams just got a bit higher. The city of Diamond Bar said in a press release Tuesday it will introduce a Mayor’s Cup to be awarded to the winning team after this year’s game between the neighboring schools. Diamond Bar hosts Diamond Ranch on Oct. 7. “Sports, particularly when they involve youth, have a way of bringing the community together,” Diamond Bar mayor Steve Tye said in the release. “The Mayor’s Cup is a means for celebrating that togetherness.
“What’s great about Diamond Bar having two great varsity football teams is that we have twice the opportunity to score championships that bring positive recognition to our youth and our community.”
For Diamond Bar High, the thought of calling Diamond Ranch a rival may take some getting used to. The Brahmas have a longstanding rivalry with nearby Walnut in what’s annually called the “Branding Iron Game.”
Last year was the first time Diamond Ranch and Diamond Bar played, and that’s probably just because they were forced to, since both teams now are members of the Hacienda League. Diamond Ranch, which opened in 1997, tried unsuccessfully for years to get a game scheduled against Diamond Bar.
“The kids have played against each other in Pop Warner and they’ve grown up together, so I think it’s fitting they’re doing something like this,” Diamond Bar football coach Ryan Maine said. “It adds a
little something, but the emotion is still there.
“We have a longer history with Walnut that started back in the 1980s, so I would have to say Walnut (is our bigger rival), but I can see Diamond Ranch getting bigger in the years to come.”
Last year’s game wasn’t close, with Diamond Ranch routing the Brahmas 41-0.
“For it to be a bigger rivalry, we have to win,” Maine said.
Before Diamond Bar can even think about the Diamond Ranch game in two weeks, the Brahmas have to figure out a way to slow down West Covina on Friday in the league opener for both teams.
Diamond Bar has injury issues. Linebacker Troy Lanning (concussion) will miss the game, and second-leading receiver Brandon Sanchez has a knee injury and also will miss the game. The Brahmas, though, are likely to get back their best ball carrier in running back Jamaal Clayton, who missed the past two games with an ankle injury.
“We’ve had a couple players step up, but it wears on your team,” Maine said. “It’s a good test to see how you respond.
“West Covina is stacked. We’re just hoping we can come out swinging and make things happen.”