Martin Mattice was watching his son, Kenz Mattice, play on the Delhi team. “Kenz has been playing since pee-wee ball,” Mattice said. “The team practices from 3 to 5 p.m. every day except weekends generally.”
For Mattice, the rivalry game is a highlight of the season. “I look forward to the Walton/Delhi game,” he said. “Excitement is built into the game. It’s no wonder Kenz loves the game. He is even interested in studying athletic coaching or medicine when he goes to college.”
Though the games can get rough, Mattice noted that the rivalry doesn’t always carry over off the field.
“Now that Kenz is a senior, he joins other team players at the Rainbow Lodge on wing night,” Mattice said. “Seniors from the both the Delhi and Walton teams meet there. Though they are rival teams, the players are friends.”
On the hill sloping down into the football field sat the Hadley women. “Coming to the Walton/Delhi game is family tradition,” said Kayla Hadley, whose mother, Donna Hadley, and aunt Wendy Hadley agreed. “It’s good competition. We’ve bantered back and forth for years and years.”
Donna Hadley is a bus driver at Delaware Academy and knows the players well. Wendy Hadley graduated from DA in 2008 and married Jon, a Delhi fan who hasn’t missed a game in 21 years. “When we lived in Ohio for a year, Jon would fly home to watch the game,” Wendy Hadley said. “He even flew home from Italy for a game.”
“The Walton/Delhi game makes my stomach twirl,” said Jon Hadley, in between taking pictures of the game. “The rivalry makes for a hard-hitting game, but these guys help each other up.” Hadley takes up to 100 pictures per game for the school website.
Unlike in 1953, there are no cheerleaders today. But Colin Spangenberg heartily sports the Delhi bulldog mascot costume. The larger-than-life fuzzy bulldog roams the field, eliciting positive encouragement from the Delhi side.