Two communities came together on their rivalry game day, but families said the night turned out to be about something bigger than football.
The rivalry between Pleasant Grove and American Fork has lasted through the decades, though no one can really pinpoint when it began.
“So the rivalry between P.G. and A.F. is pretty long embeded,” said Michelle Ormond, who lived in Pleasant Grove for years but currently teaches in American Fork.
“I think this has been the rivalry for decades,” said Tamara McMurray, the academic quality controller for American Fork High School.
“We go crazy and the administration has to calm us down, but that’s what sports is,” former student Landon Hymas said.
For some fans, love of the team starts at a young age, with hopes to one day be on the team.
“I play youth football for PG and I want our high school team to win. (In high school), I want to start at quarterback,” Chaz Rose said.
Teammates said that night’s game wasn’t just about the football, but actually about something much closer to the heart.
“There are things going on in the nation that are bigger than sports or rivalries,” Ormond said.
Patrol Officer Steven Brinton described the experience that made the night special.
“Tonight I saw the largest flag in the nation be spread out over the PG High School football field,” he said. “Honestly, I got a little choked up. It made me proud to be living in such a wonderful country, even with all of the disasters that we’ve seen. It makes me proud to be an American.
Big Bessie, the largest flag in the nation, was unfurled as families and teammates joined together in a moment of silence dedicated to the victims and the families impacted by the Las Vegas shooting.
American Fork offensive and defensive lineman Kaleb Ostler said the flag ceremony changed the environment.
“It felt special…we got an opportunity to…honor them,” Ostler said.
McMurray said the flag inspired unity between the two teams.
“In spite of the fact that they are rivals…it was something that they did united and it was really special,” McMurray said.
Pleasant Grove Head Coach Mark Wootton said the experience was important for both the community and the players.
“I thought it was a great opportunity, you know, with what’s happening with our country right now. How do you not get involved with something like that? It’s great for the kids and that’s the reality of today,” he said.
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