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HISTORY OF MAYOR’S CUP – Norwalk aims to hold on to coveted trophy of city, continue its dominance over John Glenn

By Loren Kopff • @LorenKopff on Twitter

It’s that time of the season where friends forget they are friends for a few hours and get down to business on the gridiron. It’s purple and black on one side of the field and red and blue on the other side.

It’s time for the Mayor’s Cup, the yearly tussle between the John Glenn High and Norwalk High football teams. And in this contest, the 58th installment since the rivalry began in 1964, there’s an added flavor to the mix as former Norwalk star Elijhaa Penny will be trading his purple high school colors for the current red and blue ensemble of Norwalk’s other high school on the far eastern side of the city. 

Glenn will enter Friday’s home game with a 2-1 record, having rallied for a 32-28 win over University Charter High last Friday while Norwalk picked up its first win of the season, a 63-0 shellacking of South Gate High. And despite Norwalk’s control over the Eagles in recent years, sometimes you just have to put the records aside.

“I think it will be fun,” said Penny. “Just to answer this question in depth, I’m just a kid from this city. I feel like what’s going on and what’s to happen on Friday is a great thing for the city and it’s a great thing for our youth. I know a lot of  people want the answer of the typical football guy, but honestly and realistically, what I do for the community itself and Norwalk…I think it’s great for our youth. I think it’s great for our staff, our custodians and alumni of both schools, just to come back and get an entertaining game rather than you knowing which team is going to come out swinging the big stick.”

The numbers are heavily favoring the Lancers, who have won 39 games in the series opposite 17 losses with the scores of the 1965 and 1982 games unknown. Norwalk has winning streaks of 15, six, five and four while the longest winning streak for Glenn has been four (1999-2002).

Norwalk won last season’s game 59-6 and in 2021, it was 51-7. Since 2005, there have been a dozen games where the Lancers have scored at least 40 points, eight games of at least 50 points and three games of at least 60 points. Glenn’s highest scoring output came in 2018 when it dismantled Norwalk 48-7.

There have been high scoring slugfests, like the 42-35 Norwalk win in 2009, or two years later when Norwalk outdueled the Eagles 56-27. There was a double overtime game in 2001 in which Glenn prevailed 27-21 and low scoring affairs in 1968 (3-0), 2004 (7-0) and 1998 (9-0), all Norwalk wins. The Lancers have posted 11 shutouts while the Eagles have just two goose eggs on their resume. There have been 18 games decided by one possession, including a 21-20 Glenn win in 1999 and a 20-16 Glenn win the next season.

Individually, Penny has a say in this rivalry as he rushed for 330 yards on 14 carries and scored six times in 2010. That was a 64-7 final and to this day, it still stands as a Mayor’s Cup record for most yards gained and most touchdowns scored. As a team, the Lancers gained 510 yards on 28 carries, the most yards put together by either team in the series.

“My time at Norwalk and just before I got to Norwalk, watching my older brother [Robert] play, it was always a stat game for Norwalk, to be honest,” said Penny. “When we saw Glenn on our schedule it was almost like, ‘I’m going to try to get 300 yards and seven touchdowns’. Now that I’m here and I’m with these kids on the opposite side of the track, I’m grateful to be here and I’m happy that I get to see both sides of one city. It amazes me how there is a difference between both teams and both programs.”

In 2007, Robert Penny carried the ball 14 times for 228 yards and scored four touchdowns as the Lancers gained 370 yards in a 35-7 victory. That began a stretch of seven straight games in which the Lancers rushed for at least 370 yards against the Eagles. 

But not to be outdone are some of the top numbers by Glenn in this rivalry. In their 2011 loss to Norwalk (56-27), Eagles quarterback Anthony Escobar completed 21 of 45 passes for 308 yards and four touchdowns. Two seasons prior, quarterback Jose Escobar was 10 of 22 for 227 yards with a pair of touchdowns while running back Brandon Kelly gained 115 yards on 14 carries and scored twice. In 2008, a Norwalk 39-21 victory, Glenn running back Dejon Bernard carried the ball 18 times for 107 yards while in 2018, running back Edwin Udengwu led everyone with 161 yards on 14 carries and scored three times in a 48-7 win, the largest margin of victory over the Lancers. The next season, quarterback Matthew Huxtable completed seven passes for 146 yards and two touchdowns as Glenn got past Norwalk 20-7. In that game, Robert Coates picked up 108 yards on six touches. 

“It’s going to be great lining up against those guys, seeing old coaches, old friends over there and old teachers over there is going to be great,” said Penny.