Mexico-Fulton 54 Bowl Rivalry

Mexico-Fulton 54 Bowl Rivalry
Posted on 10/10/2018

From Jeff Anderson, MHS Activities Director The Mexico Bulldogs will travel down Highway 54 to take on the Fulton Hornets at kick-off on Friday night October 12 to culminate a 98-year rivalry between the two schools known as the 54 Bowl. The two NCMC schools battle annually on the gridiron, and the winner earns bragging rights and the 54 Bowl sign. The sign remains in the school of the winning team each year. Mexico and Fulton have been playing this rivalry since 1920, and Friday night will commence the 127th meeting between the two schools. Fulton leads the series with 63 wins while Mexico has 57 wins; there have been six ties. Mexico has won nine of the last ten meetings and won the game in 2017 by a score of 28-7.

Several Head Football coaches in the Mexico Bulldog history books have their take on this storied rivalry.

"For over three decades, I was involved at many different levels. The Mexico-Fulton football rivalry is more like a family feud. Perhaps it's the closeness of the two towns, both geographically and socially, but it seems to go beyond that. A brotherhood among the players seems to have developed and that relationship took on the characteristics of a sibling rivalry. Under the Friday Night Lights, it was all out war, but the other 364 days a year we supported each other. It didn't hurt that many Fulton players attended classes with Mexico players at the Mexico Area Vocational School. The epitome of this relationship occurred after one Friday Night, in which a very talented Fulton team drubbed a young and inexperienced Bulldog squad, Fulton's coach, Hall-of-Famer Bob Fisher, stepped onto the Mexico bus as we were getting ready to return home. Our players had their heads down after being whipped physically and mentally by the Hornets, but Coach Fisher told the boys that he was impressed by the fact that they never gave up the effort during the game. He told them to keep fighting for each other as they did that night and things would get better. That act seemed to put the wind back into our sails and gave us something to focus on for the rest of the season. To me this seems to summarize the Mexico- Fulton relationship. Do everything you can to win but also recognize and respect the effort of your opponent." Mexico Head Football Coach Bernie Rothrock who served as the Mexico Coach from 2003-2006.

"I always remember the Highway 54 Bowl as a very emotional, exciting game. It never mattered how much success either time had up to that game week, both teams prepared as if it was the only game on the schedule that mattered. It was a real joy to be a part of." Head Football Coach Todd Berck as served in this role from 1998-2002.

"It is a great experience to be part of such a fun and fierce rivalry as the 54 Bowl. Most likely no matter how good one team might be, the game seems to be closer more times than not. Just like any other rivalry with towns so close, you find yourself battling against people that you interact with or may even call a friend. I know this is true for the kids as well as the coaches. The best thing to do is to talk to the older alumni who have very fond memories for the Fulton game. The different generations might see other teams as rivals depending on who is good during their time, but most of the generations will always talk about the Fulton rivalry as the big game, or game they want us to win. The 54 Bowl on Friday nights at Hawthorne Heights or @ the stadium in Fulton is a special time There is no better place to lead and live than Mexico, MO." From current Head Football Coach Steve Haag who has served the district since 2014 with a combined record of 38 wins and 15 losses.

The 54 Bowl becomes the talk of the NCMC and bragging rights between the communities of Mexico and Fulton. The energy is starting to build as Mexico and Fulton will tangle one more time in their storied history in the 127th meeting of the two schools. Come out and become a part of the 54 Bowl history.