By Patrick Dillon @PDillon_SGN
EXETER – The Valencia Cup, between the Exeter Monarchs and the Woodlake Tigers, is one of the oldest rivalries in the county. It dates back to the early 1900s. Now some of the most notable players who left their mark on the game will suit up in their school colors once again. For the Exeter alumni, this is not only a chance for community bragging rights, but to help their school’s football program as well.
The second game in this recent stint of the Exeter-Woodlake Alumni Football Game is scheduled for Saturday, March 10, at 5 p.m. The 2018 game will take place at Painter-Robinson Stadium at Woodlake High School. Tickets can be purchased at the gate at $10 per person. Tickets can also be purchased earlier from a participating Monarch alumnus. The price is still the same, but half of the funds raised will be applied toward the high school’s football program.
“It is very important to give back to a community’s program which has taught us such great values,” Bobby Martinez said. “A lot of guys who play in this game now have kids, and they want to help with the purchase of good equipment.”
This year’s game will feature 35 former Monarch players. The oldest player will be Billy Coffman (1980). There will also be a wide range of players from the 1990s and early 2000s, including quarterback Landon Wilcox, who threw a touchdown pass in the last alumni game. For him, the biggest dynamic is the cross generational members of this year’s team.
Landon Wilcox, who threw a touchdown pass in the last alumni game. For him, the biggest dynamic is the cross generational members of this year’s team.
“It is a great chance to put back on the pads with some of the guys you played with in high school and play with some guys that I coached,” Wilcox said.
Before the game returned in 2016, in which Exeter won 30-0, there had been two prior stints when the game was played. Both were five years from 1978–1983, and then 1998–2003. Keeping the game going seems to have its troubles. Although, starting the game back up again seems to be an equally difficult task.
A fallout over liability issues over the use of football equipment was the biggest hurdle the team had to overcome. That hurdle actually opened up an avenue to get in touch with USA Alumni Associate, a 30-year-old organization which permits teams to compete against their old rivalries in full-contact games.
This is only the first of the Exeter’s alumni fundraisers. On April 28, the team will be hosting their third annual dinner at the Exeter Memorial Building beginning at 7 p.m. Dinner is $25 a plate. Proceeds from both events go to help youth football programs, Exeter football boosters, and scholarships.