The Great American Rivalry Series arrived in Rochester, Pennsylvania, early Friday afternoon, championship trophy in hand, ready to pump up the Rochester High School students for what would be remembered as the final pep rally for the two-decade old, Beaver County “Battle of the Bridge” game. The infamous rivalry between Rochester and Monaca, one of the biggest in the state, was coming to an end as Monaca was merging with the Central Valley school district and would no longer compete in WPIAL Class A. This last game would decide the final naming rights of the bridge that divided Monaca and Rochester, an annual ritual created by two former mayors many years ago. The Great American Rivalry Series was there to be part of history.
Derek Gallagher is captain and a three-year letterman for the Rochester football team and was a junior all–section team selection in football and baseball. He is also a member of the Student Council, National Honor Society, and the ski and diversity clubs. He is in the gifted and talented education program, is a four-year honor roll student, and serves as a class officer. He is pictured with his parents, Alan and Terri.
Brandon Schultz is a senior full back and middle linebacker for the Monaca High School Indians and a two-year letterman. He is also a four-year letterman on the baseball team. He is a member of the Student Council and the prom committee and serves as an instructor for the Monaca youth baseball clinic. Brandon has a 3.0 GPA. and is the son of Richard and Tracy Schultz.
Gerald La Valle
Former Rochester Mayor Gerald La Valle started the first “Battle of the Bridge” with Mayor Antoline in 1988. He was mayor of the Rochester Boro from 1975-1989 and is now a retired Pennsylvania State Senator. He was also a school teacher, baseball coach, and guidance counselor as well as the head football coach for Rochester for 20 years. He has held many community and political positions including Council President, Mayor, County Commissioner, County Board Chairman, and State Senator.
The late John P. Antoline was mayor of the Monaco Boro for 10 years, 1982-1992. He started the first “Battle of the Bridge” in 1988. He and Mayor Gerald LaValle from Rochester placed a bet for the naming rights to the bridge and thus created the famous rivalry. Throughout John’s life, he was very active in the community and held several community service positions including Beaver County Commissioner. John was also a Monaca High School graduate and a member of the Monaca football team from 1957-1959. He was inducted into the Monaca Hall of Fame in 1998. Accepting the award posthumously was Mayor Antoline’s son and current Mayor John P. Antoline, who is also a graduate of Monaca High School, former football player, and chairman of the John P. Antoline Foundation.