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l iving here SPORTSBY ANDREW BETTENCOURTabettenc@ visalia. gannett. comigh school footballis king when itcomes to TulareCounty spectatorsports, and nothingfills county footballstadiums on Fridaynights like rivalrygames. Here's alook at some of thecounty's top high school football rival- ries: THE COWHIDEVisalia High School split into Mt. Whit- ney and Redwood High Schools afterthe 1953- 54 school year. Mt. Whitneykept the team nickname ( Pioneers) andcolors ( maroon and white) while occu- pying the new campus on ConyerStreet. Redwood stayed at the originalVisalia High campus site on Main Street. Redwood started varsity football in1955, and the two schools have met onthe gridiron every year since then withthe winning team gaining possession ofthe Cowhide trophy, an idea spawnedby former Visalia Times- Delta sportseditor Sid Hosking and photographerDon Brown. The game has attracted asmany as 10,000 fans to Giant Chevro- let- Cadillac Mineral King Bowl, believedto be the largest attended game in theentire Central Section and one of thebiggest in the state. Redwood leads theseries 30- 23- 1, and has owned thecross- town rivalry since 1990 ( 17- 2). Former NFL, UCLA and Mt. Whitneywide receiver Michael Young told theTimes- Delta in 1994 about his Cowhidememories, " This game [ The Cowhide], Iremember more about it than the RoseBowls I played in or the Super Bowl Iplayed ... There were millions watchingthose games, but these people youknow, friends and family, people yougrew up with." BELL GAMECity bragging rights are on the linewhen the Tulare Union Redskins andTulare Western Mustangs meet in theregular season finale that annuallydraws capacity crowds to Bob MathiasStadium. The game's winner holds pos- session of the city championship trophy— an authentic steam locomotive bellthat is painted in the winning school'scolors. Tulare Union leads the series 31- 13, but it's been much closer since 1991( 11- 7 in Tulare Union's favor). BATTLE FOR THE SADDLEThe county's newest rivalry pits the ElDiamante Miners against the GoldenWest Trailblazers in the regular- seasonfinale at Groppetti Automotive VisaliaCommunity Stadium. The winner takespossession of a saddle depicting theseries' winners, a rivalry that has beendominated by El Diamante, 4- 1. DIVISION II CHAMPIONSHIP GAMEThis is the one for county supremacy. Since the Central Section formed theDivision II bracket in 2004, at least onecounty team has advanced to the sec- tion championship game every season, and the last three Division II title gameshave been all- Tulare County affairs. ElDiamante has made three straightappearances in the Division II titlegame, including the last two againstTulare Union ( El Diamante won in 2007, Tulare Union won win 2008). BIG RIVALRIESMEAN BIG FUNHLIVING HERE May 21, 2009| 53Johanna CoyneEl Diamante High School students shout for their team in the fifth annual Battle for the Sad- dle with Golden West High School. Teresa DouglassTulare Western v. Tulare Union in the Bell Game at Bob Mathias Stadium.