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HS Sports
January 17, 2020

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54 seasons later - Pirates and Rockets face off

Tonight Harmon Field features first contest between BHS and PG since the series ended in 1965

Over one half century ago – was it that long ago?

Bluffton High School hasn't played neighboring Pandora-Gilboa HS in football for 54 seasons.

That ends tonight at Harmon Field. The story is below:


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.