On Oct. 4, 2015, the campus of Bethel College was, once again, brought together for the love of one America’s great sports. The Oakwood-Slater Hall took on Manges Hall in a twelve-year standing tradition of no equipment, no pads and all the intensity that accompanies the sport of tackle football. Each year, the winning team is granted a year’s worth of bragging rights and the ever-so coveted “Cheap-Tin Jug,” trophy.
Spectators gathered early to watch this annual showdown between the dudes of Oakwood and the men of Manges on this rainy and crisp Fall evening. Fans of both the dorms and their players, faculty and even Bethel’s drumline were amongst the members of the audience as the game generated, debatably, the most support it has seen in years.
This football game has become quite a storied tradition for people of Bethel College as it has grown quite a bit over the past 12 years of its existence. Initially this rivalry match was just a pick-up game that the resident directors of each dorm threw together, last minute, to try to intermingle the two dorms in a friendly form of competition. Now, 12 official, slugfest matchups later, this game has made its way into Bethel College lore and tradition as one of the most highly anticipated events the campus has to offer each year.
Manges has been quite dominant over the years, even going on a 7 year/game winning streak against Oakwood at one point. However, last year Oakwood was able to stop Manges’ possession of the “Cheap-Tin Jug” by winning the matchup and bringing the overall record between the two dorms to 8-3 in favor of Manges.
The energy was simply electrifying throughout this year’s matchup as these two heavyweights put their pads-free bodies on the line to engage in a high-octane slugfest for the title of champion. Fans of each side were simply explosive on the sidelines as they supported their teams, and just for a brief moment you would have thought that small school Bethel College was actually hosting the high-intensity, rowdy atmosphere that most public, state schools enjoy every Saturday in the collegiate realm of football.
Resident Director of Oakwood-Slater Hall Josh Hartsell explained how it’s the high-intensity and excitement of this annual game that can really set the tone for a year in the dorms.
“This game continually proves how incredible relationships and community can be formed through sports and a fun rivalry match with Manges,” said Hartsell. “This game is more than just a match of football, but it instead is a chance to really unite the guys under the same mindset for an incredible year spent together in Bethel’s community.”
Even though the girls’ dorms don’t play in the game, Hartsell explained how the girls of Shupe and Tuckey Halls contributed to the fun atmosphere of the Oakwood vs. Manges football game.
“They (girls from Shupe) decked out the front of our dorm with streamers and encouraging window paint before the game and gave us quite the cheering section in our matchup against the guys in Manges,” said Hartsell.
In the end, the victory was savored most by the boys in Oakwood as they contained the rallies of Manges in a thrilling finish and final score of 12-8. It was a hard defeat for Manges to stomach as they had a chance to go up late in the final two minutes of this year’s contest, but came up just short.
Reed Lyons, Resident Director of Manges Hall and coach of the Manges team had this to say concerning the heart-breaking loss to the rival Oakwood squad:
“We played a great matchup and it overall was an incredible defensive slugfest,” said Lyons. “At the end of a matchup in which you lose a close game like that, it can sometimes be difficult to shake hands and stomach defeat, but to see the long-term, community-building effects that the game has on our campus is what makes this event so worth it in the end.”
The participants in this annual game join scores of players who have competed and spilled blood, sweat and tears onto that historic field for the last 12 years in this incredible game.
Though Bethel has not yet joined the likings of many other colleges/universities that have a football team to call their own, the invigorating yearly matchup between the guys’ dorms of Oakwood and Manges gets the Bethel faithful excited for the love of the sport and all that the community has to offer.