Wasilla and Palmer to meet in 40th Potato Bowl

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WASILLA, Alaska (KTUU) - The Potato Bowl.

You say those words out in the Valley, and someone will have a story about the yearly face-off between Palmer and Wasilla High Schools.

"It's kinda, history and community. A lot of people ask you about it," Palmer head coach Rod Christiansen says with a smile. "They'll ask, when's the Potato Bowl? I'll be there. You know? People who aren't interested in football at all."

For players, coaches and fans of both teams, this is the game that matters the most all season.

"It's a game that, not only do you get local bragging rights, but it's a game that, kind of, that we're reinforcing with our seniors, they're not going to forget this game," Palmer running back coach Ali Larijanai says.

He should know. He played for Palmer back in 2002.

Here's how intense this rivalry is. The last two games? They've been decided by 8 points-- total. Palmer is on a three-game win streak, and the senior Moose are not about to let this year's trophy slip away.

"So, every time, every game I've played on varsity, we've not lost the Potato Bowl," Palmer senior outside linebacker Levi Farris says. "Everybody definitely knows... I think the juniors know that we expect them to play very hard for this game."

For Wasilla, the pride of winning the coveted Mayor's Cup runs deep for them as well.

For Wasilla head coach Will Stout, he's looking to break into the win column in his third Potato Bowl.

"0-2 is my personal record. Lost by a total of 8 points in 2 games," he says with a chuckle.

While everyone has playoffs and state in the back of their mind, Coach Christiansen says it best: There's always the Potato Bowl.

"To be the champions in state and everybody's trying to do that but you always have that. Also that you can look at too-- you've got the Potato Bowl," Christiansen says. "And then, you know, you can go over to Wasilla all year and you know, that trophy's back at home. So that's a good thing."

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