‘War of the Wheel’ Preview: Banning looks­ for retribution after last year’s loss

Residents look forward to the annual ‘War of the Wheel’ game, where Beaumont and Banning determine who’s the best in the Pass area.

It is the game Pass area residents look forward to each year, as the two local high schools battle it out in the annual War of the Wheel.

Beaumont High School Cougars will host the Banning High School Broncos for this year’s game.

The pre-game coin flip to determine which of these two rivals will kick off happens at 7 p.m. tonight.

The War of the Wheel has been a tradition in the Pass area for over 70 years as the two teams have passed the title back and forth.

The record for the long-standing tradition holds with the Broncos 37 and the Cougars 33.

There have been only seven times the game was undecided and ended in a tie.

Over the last 20 years, the tides have turned in Beaumont’s favor as they have bested their neighbor to the east 13 times.

During last year’s bout, the first half was dominated by Banning as they kept the Cougars scoreless.

Going into the third quarter up by 20, the Broncos were unable to score any more points against the Cougar defense.

Beaumont’s offense then worked their way back during the last two quarters to beat the Banning team with a final score of 28 to 20.

Anticipation is high on both sides of the field as the night approaches.

“We are showing up with our competitive spirit,” says Banning High School Principal, Matt Valdivia. “We are ready.”

The Broncos are coming into this game on a low after starting the season with two losses.

The Cougars are heading into this rival match with two big wins under their belt, each one ending with scores in the 50’s.

But that doesn’t allow for them to grow complacent or rest on their laurels.

The Broncos are still dangerous with a strong desire for retribution after last year’s loss.

This game is the one many of the Bronco players talked about during the pre-season practices.

“We are going to leave it on the field,” Broncos coach Qua’sand Lewis reminds his players during an early season practice.

The Broncos cannot afford to play a game based solely on emotion.

In order for them to gain ground against the Cougars, they are going to have to be strategic and outwork their counterparts.

The Banning defense will have to put pressure on a strong Beaumont running and passing game.

Cougars have thrown for an average 124 yards and rushed for 238 yards per game.

The Cougar defense is no slouch either when it comes to putting pressure on the opposing team’s offense.

They have already racked up seven sacks and two interceptions in only two games.

However, Bronco’s sophomore quarterback Richard Hartley promises to be a challenge to the Cougars defense.

Hartley is the kid Beaumont’s defense has been warned about by Cougar’s head coach, Jeff Steinberg.

“Their quarterback (Hartley) is pretty athletic. He has done some big things,” Coach Steinberg says.

Steinberg’s plan for his defense is for them to create problems at the line of scrimmage and force the Broncos to make mistakes.

Both teams have their work cut out for them if they want to take home the hallowed Wheel Trophy.

Tonight’s game will host a pre-game military appreciation ceremony and at halftime a player from each team will be awarded a scholarship presented Great American Rivalry Series.

Tickets for the game may be purchased online at the Beaumont HS Go Fan website at https://gofan.co/app/events/66153 .

Tickets may also be purchased today from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. at the Beaumont High School home ticket booth, 200 Brookside Avenue, Beaumont.

The game can also be heard live on www.kmet1490am.com .

Staff Writer Marc Hargett may be reached at mhargett@recordgazette.net .

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