On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, November 11, 1918, World War I ended, or as it was known then, “The Great War.” The day became known as Armistice Day and was celebrated for the decades following in honor of those who served in that conflict.
On the local high school football scene, many schools were just beginning the sport. On Nov. 11, 1923, Millwood and Vera High Schools met on the gridiron in celebration of the veterans. Millwood won easily 50-0. They had met for the first time ever in September with the Eagles winning that game in a romp, 65-0. To date, that’s still the worst known defeat in football for the school that was to become Central Valley.
It became an annual tradition for the two schools, who soon became West Valley and Central Valley, to hold their annual end-of-the-season football game on Armistice Day. Early on, West Valley, which was the larger school, dominated the series. As the decades rolled by and the population in the Valley shifted, CV became the larger school and the scores often reflected the change.
Because of the date, many of the games were played in less than perfect weather. Snow, ice and freezing rain often were a factor in the outcome.
The events of Dec. 7, 1941 changed the name of the “Great War” to World War I. Central Valley and West Valley continued the Armistice Day tradition until 1943. After that year, it was no longer automatically the date for their end of the year match-up.
Enrollment totals continued to widen between the two schools, as well as an appearance of a new rival for Central Valley with the opening of University High in 1962. When CV entered the Greater Spokane League in 1976, it brought the 52-year football rivalry between the two schools to an end with the Bears holding a narrow 38-35-6 margin over the Eagles.
In 1954, the 83rd Congress changed the name of Armistice Day to Veteran’s Day. On Nov. 11, we still continue to honor those who served, and continue to serve, their country.