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Football Rivalries

1890s football team portrait

Pomona College''s football team in the 1890s

Football drum

The winner of the annual Pomona-Occidental game gains possession of The Drum, which has scores written on it.

Pomona football goes back more than 100 years, which is plenty of time to develop some serious rivalries.

Dating to 1895, the rivalry with Occidental College is the oldest college football rivalry in Southern California and one of the 10 oldest in the country. The winner gets possession of The Drum, which has the scores of each annual game written on it.

While the Oxy rivalry has the most history, Pomona’s rivalry with Claremont-Mudd-Scripps hits closest to home. The annual game pits Pomona-Pitzer against three other members of the Claremont Colleges.

These rivals actually once played on the same team. Pomona and Claremont Men’s College (which later became Claremont McKenna) competed as a single Claremont Colleges team from 1947 to 1958. The cross-campus rivalry began in 1959 after separate athletic departments and intercollegiate programs were started. Pitzer College opened in 1964 and eventually joined Pomona students to form Pomona-Pitzer teams.

For the annual game, the stadium is always packed and students crowd around the field as the two teams battle for possession of the Peace Pipe. “It’s as noisy as it gets for these types of games,” says Pomona-Pitzer football coach Roger Caron.

And victory has special meaning for the players because members of the opposing teams are bound to cross paths on the campuses of the Claremont Colleges. “It’s important for the kids because it’s … bragging rights,” says Caron. “They see each other in class.”