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May 25, 2020

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Pirates host Rockets in football (for real) on Sept. 6

Pandora-Gilboa vs. Bluffton HS football rivalry returns after 54 season absence

It’s July, but let’s talk fall Bluffton High School sports.

Alex Hanna, BHS athletic director, released the fall sports schedules, attached at the bottom of this story.

One rivalry of the past is back on the BHS football schedule as the Pirates host Pandora-Gilboa on Friday, Sept. 6, in a non-conference game.


This is the first meeting between the Rockets and Pirates in over a half-century. The last meeting between the two neighboring schools was in 1965 when Bluffton won 40-7. Pandora-Gilboa left the Northwest Conference after that season.

Scheduling of the two teams was, unfortunately no longer an option after 1965, despite that the game was always attrached one of the season's largest crowds for both teams.

The Pandora-Bluffton football rivalry started in 1922, the first season Pandora had a football team. That season Pandora was known as the Flying Dutchmen.
Bluffton won the series opener 10-0. Football started at BHS several years prior to 1922. It is believed that the first team was formed in 1904.

Fred Steiner of the Icon was editor of the Pandora Times in 1972. He interviewed several players from that 1922  Pandora team. One member of the team told Steiner that sometimes the Pandora quarterback made calls in Swiss dialect at the offensive line instead of the traditional “hike.”

The first Pandora vs. Bluffton football game was played at “Schmidt’s field,” today’s location of the Community Market on Vance Street. Then, in 1924 Harmon Field was developed as the Bluffton football field.

The Bluffton-Pandora rivalry was very significant to the two communities. As an example, in 1936 the teams played on Thanksgiving Day.