The 25th annual Key to the County Breakfast was held at Fullerton College this morning, as Fullerton and Santa Ana gathered to keep the tradition alive and celebrate the oldest rivalry game in college football.
The event was emceed by Head Baseball Coach Nick Fuscardo, whose jokes brought laughter and cheers as alums, representatives, and players set aside their bitter-rivarly and showed their school spirit; even though red dominated the room.
The Head Coach for Santa Ana Geoff Jones, and Offensive Coordinator for FC Garrett Campbell both showcased not only pride in their team but sportsmanship in appreciating each others success; as well as extending their appreciation to their families and staff.
Other speakers in attendance were FC President Greg Schultz and Athletic Director Scott Giles, as well as the Dons Athletic Director Mary Hegarty, and Dean Douglas.
Campbell, who subbed in for Head Coach Tim Byrnes, talked about how special football and the game is. He believes the blood, sweat, and tears delivered by his team means: Mental toughness, physical strength, creating and building character, and becoming a family.
According to Campbell, “There are 3 million people in Orange County the key means something, and something to us. I enjoy playing games like this knowing we have a little something on the line…with good people and good competition. Anytime their is a trophy involved, its beautiful.”
Sophomore wide recevier Robert Downs knows that this game will hold a place in history.
“This Rivalry has been going on for a long time, its something bigger than us…We are all excited to be apart of it and see if we can hold our place in history, by keeping the streak going and keeping the key.”
A rivalry that began 102 years ago in 1916, was first known as the “Turkey Bowl,” when the two teams first met on Thanksgiving Day drawing in a crowd with just over 15,000 people.
Santa Ana dominated the early years with a 18-7-4 series edge through 1951 until Fullerton coach Hal Sherbeck changed that.
“The Key to the County,” was introduced by former Mayor and longtime Hornet fan Chris Norby at the 75th game at Titan Stadium in 1997.
The large iron key features Santa Ana colors, red and black, on one side and displays the Hornets blue and gold with scores of Fullerton’s 49 wins on the other side.
Over the past couple decades, the Hornets have come out on top in 16 out of the last 17 games, out-scoring the Dons 473-186 since 2007.
In 2017, the Hornets and Dons met at Yorba Linda High’s Nathan Shapell Stadium where Fullerton kept the key for the 11 straight seasons with a 77-28 victory over the Dons.
The Hornets lead the Dons by nine game and has a ALL-time series record of 50-41-4.
The Hornets host Santa Ana College in the 96 Key to the County Game at Yorba Linda High School Saturday, Sept. 15 at 12 p.m.