As a school without a football team, the Bulldog Bowl is a tradition that Gonzaga University students look forward to every year. For one night a year, Zags push basketball into the background and get excited for flag football.
The event will start at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 16, with free food and all-gender team warm ups on Mulligan Field. The first flag football game starts at 4:30 p.m. with the all-gender team, followed by women’s game at 5:40 p.m., and ending with men’s game, which is planned to begin at 6:50 p.m.
Everyone is invited to this event, no matter if attendees are underclassmen or upperclassmen. First-year students can be found cheering on their dorm mates. Seniors will attend and shout for their first-year dorm teams. Even if students aren’t football fans, there is a piece of connection through community for everyone.
"We want everyone to come out," said Sam McKiernan, a junior RA and one of the coaches for East Central block. "We want people to bring their friends and bring lots of school spirit."
GU’s Bomb Squad will be performing at the Bulldog Bowl between games, mirroring "Friday Night Lights" halftime shows. This is GU’s version of a football night, but with quick-release belts and hanging colored flags.
With around 20 students per team, practices have been in action since mid-September. The co-ed and women’s games are split by housing block; the East Central block versus the South East block.
The men’s game is Desmet Hall against Catherine Monica (CM) Hall and is a long-held tradition. The ongoing rivalry between the CM and Desmet men’s teams is as strong as ever.
The men’s duel tradition started after World War II when the GU football team was no longer able to field a team and play, according to Dorey Veron, housing and residence life assistant director. The Bulldog Bowl filled the football hole on campus.
The men’s Desmet team is known for taking home the win, but the CM team has its share of victories over the years. This long-awaited game, after the pandemic pause, promises to amp up the underclassmen on campus.
Jackson Derby is a senior and an RA in Desmet hall this year. He is one of the coaches for the Desmet men’s team, along with Kiernan Knight, Campbell Bastian and Shawn Crowell.
“I think people have actually gotten closer every practice,” Derby said. “They keep getting more and more excited about the game.”
An addition to this year’s event is the all-gender game. Adding this game invites students of all gender identities to feel comfortable to participate. It also allows anyone who doesn’t live in Desmet or CM to participate and feel included.
Colin Cramer and Sara Clark are the two coaches for the East Central block co-ed team. Ethan Cady and Rachel Amadio are the coaches for the South Central block team. Cramer said they are excited to represent the all-gender team and get out there on Saturday.
“I think the all-gender team is important because it is more inclusive than the original tradition,” Clark said.
McKiernan said the girls teams are running through plays and preparing for a tough game. The South Central team coaches are Jenny Villarreal, Emily Hunter and Amber Sety.
“There's a lot of excitement stemming from the East Central block women’s team,” McKiernan said.
Come out to Mulligan Field on Saturday night at 4 p.m. to cheer for the underclassmen. With free food, three flag football games, a performance by Bomb Squad and a bunch of Zags under the lights, it will be a night full of school spirit.