Voice of the Notre Dame Prep Saints

The Seraphim

Saints throw down yet again

Cross-town rivals go too far

Photo+of+dog+pound+taken+by+Mike+Harvey+at+Notre+Dame+Desert+Mountain+varsity+football+game.
Photo of dog pound taken by Mike Harvey at Notre Dame Desert Mountain varsity football game.

Photo of dog pound taken by Mike Harvey at Notre Dame Desert Mountain varsity football game.

Photo of dog pound taken by Mike Harvey at Notre Dame Desert Mountain varsity football game.

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The phrase wolf den has transformed into NDP’s own personal Voldemort: the school that must not be named.

In the past five years, an intense rivalry has been brewing between Notre Dame Prep and Desert Mountain, leading to various taunting, pranks and even social media fights.

The football team and fans want to win every game, but stakes seem to be higher with Desert Mountain. Too high recently.

Why? Proximity might be a factor. DM is the closest nearby high school, being 6.3 miles away. Football powerhouse Chaparral is a close second at 7.8 miles, but the Chap games usually don’t produce the excitement DM does, as NDP hasn’t played them as often in the past.

The Saints will play Chaparral at home Friday, starting at 7 p.m., but the DM rivalry overrules any other minor ones.

However, this rivalry got out of hand when the two teams played Sept. 2. Both the days leading up to the game and those proceeding it, Twitter was full of disputes between the schools.

Students fired insults back and forth, escalating to borderline cyber bullying. The social media attacks felt different this year, as students began to specifically attack individuals as well as the schools as a whole.

NDP senior Mallory Walker said she felt particularly passionate about the arguments. “There were so many ignorant comments bashing Notre Dame that weren’t even true,” Walker said. “People can be so inconsiderate.”

Many students and alumni agreed that the situation got out of hand.

In Walker’s estimation, “We all know each other, which makes everything more personal. And honestly, half of it is probably that we are a private school. We will always have a target on our back. People are jealous.”

One particular prank sent tensions over the edge. On the morning of the big game, NDP administration discovered that someone had tampered with the Virgin Mary statue that stands in the front of Notre Dame to welcome all.

Earlier that morning, a group of Desert Mountain students allegedly snuck onto the campus and attached a mask of Hillary Clinton and male genitalia to the statue.

Campus security quickly removed these, but one Desert Mountain student posted a picture of the defacement, which he soon after deleted due to a multitude of negative feedback on social media.

NDP students, parents and faculty were disgusted by the offensive vandalism, saying it was insulting and went way too far.

Principal Jerry Zander simply stated, “You can’t unsee it.”

Mr. Zander said the first step of action in response to the incident was to “develop a plan for the pep rally” to inspire the whole school “to handle the situation with class” and “to not retaliate.”

According to Mr. Zander, the Scottsdale Unified School District superintendent took the initiative and contacted both the police and NDP about the prank.

Mr. Zander received two apology letters: one from the Desert Mountain administration and one from the student dressed as dancing Jesus at the game. 

In particular, the letter from the DM student seemed “very sincere,” said Zander, and “Ironically, the young man was Catholic.”

One consequence the rival school may not have foreseen: “It motivated the team. It didn’t throw us off. It just fueled our fire,” said
senior varsity offensive lineman Michael “Big Mike” Girardin.

The Saints went on to defeat the Wolves 56-42.

Girardin added that he thought everyone was angry because the prank insulted “not just a mascot but our religion and basic values.”

He said the team was “more fired up and emotional than usual,” but that the game itself “felt pretty normal.”

Little smack talk was actually being exchanged between the players on the field, just mostly between the fans.

During his pre-game speech at the pep rally on game day, varsity football coach Mark Nolan said, “I don’t believe Desert Mountain is fit to be our rivals.” However, he encouraged the student body to refuse to stoop to their level and retaliate as this conflict would be settled on the field.

Rivalries can be fun and built school spirit, but it’s important that they don’t go too far. DM’s received negative publicity because of the actions of a few.

Kudos to the Saints on and off the field for not stooping to this level. Keep it classy, Saints.

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Voice of the Notre Dame Prep Saints
Saints throw down yet again