By David Krueger
The Marysville Pilchuck football team's goal is simply to improve each week.
The Tomahawks may have to remind themselves of that -- and not to get too excited -- as they prepare to take on crosstown rival Marysville Getchell tonight in the second annual Berry Bowl at Quil Ceda Stadium.
"Our mantra's been, 'Let's get better each and every week, no matter who the opponent is,'" Marysville Pilchuck head coach Brandon Carson said. "(The players) know there's going to be a lot of people there, but at the end of the day you've still got to execute and block and tackle and hope for the best. There's a little added element this week because it is our first league game and it is our crosstown rival, but we're preaching let's do what we do and just get better at what we do."
Last season, Pilchuck defeated Getchell 42-7 in the first Berry Bowl. Austin Joyner had 102 yards rushing and a touchdown, and Tomahawks' quarterback Jake Luton was a touchdown machine, completing 4-of-6 passes for 73 yards and two touchdowns, and running for two more scores.
"We're ready," Luton said. "We've been practicing really hard and we've had a pretty good season so far but we're ready to play against Getchell and we're ready for league (games) to start. It's huge for sure. You've got to start out good for the season. At the same time it's Getchell, it's the crosstown rival. We've got to get that 'W' and get our season rolling."
Meanwhile, up on the hill, Marysville Getchell is looking to keep up with the Tomahawks' high-powered offense.
"During the game we can't allow any big plays. It's that simple," said senior running back/linebacker Devon Palfrey. "No big plays. And we have to execute on offense. It's a big game. But we've got our heads up high. We're ready for it. We're not intimidated at all.
"It's the game I've been watching film on since last year."
Palfrey is excited for the game, and to go up against several guys he's played with since he was a kid.
Including one in particular.
"It's a good opportunity to play against kids that I've been playing with since I was eight," Palfrey said. "One of my best friends since middle school is down there: Deion Stell. I haven't talked to him at all this week yet. But every other week we support each other and wish each other luck."
What little communication there is between the two sides, has tended to be of the smack-talk variety. Although the players say it is all good-natured.
"Of course there is (trash talk). It's a crosstown rivalry, let's be real," Getchell senior quarterback Michael Cameron said. "Their Berry Bowl shirts say 'repeat defeat.' Of course there's going to be some trash talking. It's mostly nice."
Adding to the lore of the Berry Bowl, this year's game will actually be for legitimate hardware. Marysville School District Athletic Director Greg Erickson pieced together a traveling trophy, a 75-100 year-old flat from the Biringer Farm and football helmets from both teams.
"Last year it was outstanding," Erickson said. "We had a packed house. It was a really feel-good celebration. It brings two campuses together and becomes a community event."
Both teams are looking forward to getting another packed crowd at Quil Ceda Stadium. Last year's game had a rocking stadium, as seemingly the entire town of Marysville came out to root for its two teams.
"It'll be an electric atmosphere," Carson said. "It's one of the reasons why you play high school football to be able to play in games of this magnitude."
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