SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) – The 35th Gucci Bowl kicks off the high school football season Thursday night pitting Churchill High School against the Clark Cougars.

When it started in 1984, it was named the Gucci Bowl  because the game involved students from some of the more affluent neighborhoods in San Antonio, and while some of the kids at those schools shop at Walmart, the name stuck.

The Cougars will be looking for revenge after losing to Churchill last year, and the year before that, and the year before that–actually 9 Gucci Bowl losses in a row.  The Chargers don’t want to break that winning streak, so you can expect a good game Thursday night.

You can also expect a great halftime show with two outstanding bands taking to the field.  As we band geeks like to say, “Without the band, it’s just a game.”

If you haven’t been to a high school football game lately, don’t expect to see the bands just march from one end of the field to the other while playing various tunes. These halftime shows are tantamount to all-out stage productions.  I got a sneak peek of Clark’s halftime show titled “Reflections.”

“There are all kinds of electronics being used, the choreography and the dance element are brought into it,” said Clark High School band director Justin Murphy during a 7 a.m. band practice Wednesday.

As some of the band members rehearsed the choreography, drills, and dancing while playing their instruments, others brought out giant mirrors to keep with the theme, “Reflections.”

“Right now they have a film over them for protection, but we’ll take them off for the show and they’ll be full-on mirrors,” said Murphy.

Clark High School Band Practice/KTSA Photo-Elizabeth Ruiz

Clark is in the Northside School District, which started classes Monday, but the band kids have been practicing for four weeks. Murphy says they’re looking forward to performing their first halftime show this school year at the Gucci Bowl.

“They get pretty stoked up for it. I think we all do,” he said. “It’s a good first game for us.”

Meanwhile, on Blanco Road, Churchill High School was having a pep rally Wednesday morning before classes started.  This is Amanda Stevenson’s first year as band director there, but she’s no stranger to the Gucci Bowl.

“It’s my 13th year of teaching, my first year at Churchill, but I student taught at Churchill, so I’m familiar with the Gucci Bowl tradition,” said Stevenson.

She’s looking forward to a great year with the Chargers.

“We’re all here for the same goal of continuing their excellence, the tradition of superior ratings, award-winning programs and building the culture of having better human beings for the world through our music program,” she told KTSA News.

This will be the last Gucci Bowl for Kaela Ybarra, a senior band member at Clark, and it will be the first for her younger sister who’s a freshman. Kaela plays clarinet and her sister plays tenor saxophone.

“It’s really fun. It’s a lot of work, but it’s very rewarding to be able to put on a show that you’re proud of,” she said.

The Gucci Bowl kicks off at 7 pm Thursday at Farris  Stadium and you can watch it on CW 35. It’s also part of the Peanut Butter Bowl program which is collecting 16 oz-18 oz jars of creamy peanut butter for hungry children and families. The peanut butter will go to Snack Pak 4 Kids S.A.

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