by Leah Little
Many legends and stories have come out of this Marine League rivalry known as “The Harbor Battle,” which began in 1948. The reason for the title is that most of the parents of these kids work in the adjacent industrial harbor area of Long Beach. Stories say that wages are bet on the outcome of this game and proud parents earn bragging rights from their kids. These are the two oldest schools in the area. Banning–founded in 1926–was formerly a predominantly black school but now has a predominant Hispanic demographic, as does San Pedro, which was founded in 1935.
Legendary Coach Chris Ferragamo, whose brother Vince plays for the L.A. Rams, has been the coach of Banning since the 1969. San Pedro led the series until he took over. Banning has produced 14 NFL players including Frank Manimaleuna, Courtney Hall, Travis Davis, Stanley Wilson, and of course Vince Ferragamo. San Pedro’s Mike Walsh is no slouch himself having many Marine League titles, four city titles, three undefeated seasons, and leading San Pedro to the playoffs every single year.
This year’s “Harbor Battle” had all the hype as usual. Teams were pumped and ready for this Marine League game and all the bragging rights that are associated with winning it. It was truly a battle, with the teams going in at the half scoreless. Banning tried to pull one over on the Pirates as they changed their jerseys to black at the half, hoping for a spark. The strategy didn’t work, however, as Banning made two costly mistakes and MVP Christian Farrow broke for a 50-yard touchdown run. Banning still had a chance on the next play as quarterback Fie Faaituala broke one to the 2-yard line. A penalty called the play back, and the clock ran out for the Pilots. San Pedro won 14-7, giving them the victory for seven of the last eight years. The legend continues.
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- San Pedro vs. Banning – 2009