Watsonville High Oscar Ortiz receives the Belgard Kup after the Wildcatz defeated Pajaro Valley High, 26-7, in the annual game on April 17, 2021. (The Pajaronian file photo)

WATSONVILLE—The annual Belgard Kup meeting between Pajaro Valley and Watsonville is usually a game filled with lots of mixed emotions both on and off the field.

The cross-town rivals aren’t only playing for bragging rights but there’s also a sense of a “family rivalry” that plays into it. 

That’s because most of the players who will go up against each other are probably related or they went to the same middle school.

The illustrious 5-quart white ceramic coffee mug will be up for grabs this Saturday in front of an anticipated full house at The Grizzlies Den at Pajaro Valley High. Kickoff is slated for 12:30pm. 

Watsonville coach Anthony Valdivia said it’s going to be a phenomenal atmosphere. The last time both teams met at Pajaro Valley was when strict Covid-19 protocols were in place.

“It still felt like a packed house and a rocking stadium,” he said. “I very much expect it to be lots of fun on Saturday with all kinds of people from Watsonville, all kinds of people from PV. There may not be anything else open in town.”

The Wildcatz are currently 14-2 all-time against the Grizzlies. The Belgard Kup has left its trophy case on East Beach Street just two times since 2007, in what was the second meeting between the two teams but the first involving the Kup.

Watsonville senior Robert Caput said there’s always tension when both teams meet on the field. He mentioned that most of his teammates will get to see a familiar face or two over on the Grizzlies’ sideline.

Caput said it’ll be a difficult matchup and there will be a lot of emotion poured into the game itself, but overall it’s just a game. He believes they have other opponents that might be just as difficult, if not more, that lie ahead.  

“We gotta go in there not overthinking it,” he said. “It’s not as big as a game it’s made out to be. As long as we play our game and we stay playing the way we always play, then we’ll be good.”

Watsonville junior Diego Reyes is expecting a good and competitive battle against the Grizzlies, especially because both teams will be vying for the Kup.

“It’s my first time experiencing a big game like that. Last year I didn’t get to play against them,” he said. “They seem like they have a really big team, their players are big.” 

Pajaro Valley seniors Jesus Basulto and Juan Macias are trying to get their first win on varsity against Watsonville. They also want to bring back the Belgard Kup for the first time since 2016.

“We have a lot of competitiveness between each other, cross-town rivalry,” Macias said. “I kind of know these dudes, really close.”

Basulto was on the PV freshman team that beat Watsonville. The starting quarterback said they feel pretty confident going into his final showdown against the cross-town rivals.

“We definitely feel like we have the advantage this year going into the game and winning,” he said.

Week 1 scoreboard


  • Aptos 39, Oakdale 29
  • Christopher 31, North Monterey County 0 


  • Pajaro Valley vs. Watsonville, 12:30pm
  • St. Francis vs. Monte Vista Christian, 12:30pm 
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A Watsonville native who has a passion for local sports and loves his community. A Watsonville High, Cabrillo College, San Jose State University and UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism alumnus, he primarily covers high school athletics, Cabrillo College athletics, various youth sports in the Pajaro Valley and the Santa Cruz Warriors. Juan is also a video game enthusiast, part-time chef (at home), explorer and a sports junkie. Coaches and athletic directors are encouraged to report scores HERE.


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