Battle for the Bell

Scranton Knights @ West Scranton Invaders

Friday, September 22, 2017 7:00 PM

Outside of school Scranton and West Scranton like each other. But on the football field the Knights and the Invaders would just as soon partake in a full-blown rumble. It’s what the ‘Bell Game’ brings out in those who attend these two northeastern Pennsylvania high schools.

The Battle of Scranton began in 1954 when West Scranton, Scranton Central and Scranton Tech competed for an old railroad bell. The winning school earned the right to ring the bell, paint it their school colors and take it home until the next ‘Battle of the Bell’ was to be decided.

In 1991 Scranton Central and Scranton Tech closed their doors, and the newly built Scranton High School took the torch and began butting heads with West Scranton on an annual basis, keeping the history and traditions alive. Although West Scranton won the first four modern day Bell Battles beginning in 1991, Scranton has come out victorious in 14 of the last 26 tussles after winning five straight games from 2011-15.

West Scranton, who has been victorious in 34 ‘Bell Classics’ overall, according to a Times Tribune blog and the research of Mike and Matt Nycz, took last year’s tussle 28-21 to take back the bell. The Knights and Invaders did play two games in 1993 with West Scranton winning both contests by a combined 55-12.

A Scranton School District teacher’s strike nearly vanquished the annual clash for a year in 2015. But since neither team qualified for the playoffs, the contest was held in mid-November, allowing the Knights to earn a fifth straight win in the series.

With last year’s triumph, West Scranton wants nothing more than to turn this football fisticuff back in its favor. Scranton, on the other hand, is delighted with its two-game upper hand.

A swarm of football fans are expected to flood the Electric City’s Memorial Stadium on Fri. Sept. 22 at 7 p.m. So arrive early to witness the next Battle for the Bell, one of Pennsylvania’s true grudge matches.

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Who will win?

Learn More About the Teams

@ West Scranton
Score
West Scranton
Scranton Knights Scranton, PA
35
Loveland Tigers
West Scranton Invaders Scranton, PA
20

Scranton

Scranton Knights

Scranton, PA

Scranton High School, home of the Knights, is located just northwest of downtown Scranton in northeast Pennsylvania’s Lackawanna County. With a 2017-18 classification enrollment of more than 1,400 students, the Knights compete on the gridiron in Class 6A, Pennsylvania’s largest football classification.

After taking over at Scranton in 2008, Mike Marichak is 55-43 overall and 7-2 in his quests for the Bell during those nine seasons. Scranton won five straight decisions over its rival beginning in 2011, and took three straight games from 2002-2004. In 2008 and 2009, Scranton went back to back in what has become one of Pennsylvania’s merciless rivalries.

Scranton is 14-12 in the modern day Battle of Scranton. Marichak’s Knights have posted five winning seasons since he was promoted from assistant coach to head coach, outscoring Scranton’s cross-town foe by a 21-19 average. In 2002, the Knights qualified for the state football playoffs, losing to Interboro 36-19 in first round action. Scranton qualified for district play in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2016.

The Knights last knocked off West Scranton 21-14 in 2015 in what is the only overtime game of the modern era in this rivalry. Scranton has posted three shutouts in their 14 wins and held the Invaders to a touchdown or less seven times during Battle of the Bell triumphs.

A season ago, the Knights handed the bell back over to West Scranton after holding onto it for five straight seasons. You can bet that the Knights want nothing more than to flip the lid on their rivals and to take the bell back, while also striving for postseason play once again.

For more information on the Scranton football team, click here.


West Scranton

West Scranton Invaders

Scranton, PA

West Scranton High School, home of the Invaders, is located about two miles to the southwest of district rival Scranton High School. With a 2017-18 classification enrollment of more than 700 students, the Invader football team will compete in Class 4A this fall.

Led by Coach Brian Fahey, who took over for Joe Gerek beginning in 2014, the Invaders have posted a 10-21 record over the past three seasons. As Fahey and his coaching staff look to improve on that mark, they can look to West Scranton’s first triumph over its rival Knights during their tenure for direction. After posting a 28-21 win last fall, the Invaders are 1-2 against Scranton since 2014.

Trailing 12-14 in the Battle for the Bell series, West Scranton has actually posted 13 wins against the Knights since 1991 after the Invaders took a second contest from their rival in 1993. Counting the extra win, West Scranton swept the first five clashes in this fierce rivalry, outscoring Scranton 120-12 during that time frame. The Invaders posted three shutouts during that initial run, and went back to back against their rival in 1998 and 1999.

In 2006 and 2007, the Invaders qualified for the state football playoffs after going a combined 19-8, including a 12-2 mark in 2007. West Scranton fell to Pottsville 40-28 in PIAA 3A opening round action in 2006 and lost to Garnet Valley 27-22, bowing out in the quarterfinals, a year later. During the two-year run the Invaders were 4-2 in postseason play.

Last fall’s 28-21 triumph over Scranton was the first for the Invaders since West Scranton bumped the Knights 34-8 in 2010, giving Fahey the upper hand in momentum going into this fall’s Battle of Scranton. After experiencing the torment of defeat in Bell Battles five straight seasons, the Invaders are bound to tighten their grip on the bell as they go for their first back to back wins in this series since 1998 and 1999.

For more information on the West Scranton football team, click here.