How the Leigh vs. Branham rivalry got started

The winter sports are here and the Leigh Longhorns’ basketball teams are gearing up for a new season. But something is a little bit different in the boys’ basketball schedule. There is no Branham game.

With the Branham Bruins being the Longhorns rival, in every sport there is a game against the Bruins, that is counted as the rivalry game. But, with this small schedule difference, it might be a good time to analyze: Is Branham really Leigh’s rival?

One of the reasons why the Bruins might not be the Longhorns’ main rival is because the two teams are not even in the same divisions in some sports. Leigh plays in the Mount Hamilton Division in most sports and Branham plays in the Santa Teresa Division. Because of this fact, the different division can start to take away from the rivalry, and with only one sport not playing the big rivalry game it really starts to take away from it.

“If a person is only in high school for four years, and they only get to experience a rivalry one time a year in one sport, they can’t possibly understand what it means to both schools and the people affiliated with each” said Ryan McCarthy, Sports Editor of “Bear Witness.”

“The emotional aspect to Leigh v. Branham will always be the largest factor in the rivalry, but not being in the same league in some sports diminishes it a bit” said Jared Osorio, senior, Sports Writer for “The Eleight.”

The main rivalry game of the year is the football game between the Bruins and the Longhorns. But, over the past 10 years the Bruins have won one of those games, in 2014. In this years game the Longhorns won 29-24, and they have also won the previous three. Though this game is shown as a great spectacle, it is not the always the game that lives up to the hype.

“I know football plays every year in non-league games, and basketball doesn’t play this year, which takes away some of the hype that comes with a rivalry” said McCarthy.

Even though other sports, such as soccer and field hockey have games against the Bruins, they don’t have the same appeal. They don’t draw as much of a crowd as the big football and basketball game, and they aren’t hyped up as much. And if they were in the same division, it would added even more the games and the rivalry.


“I think if the schools played in the same division the rivalry would be even bigger” said Allison Taylor, junior, Sports Writer for “The Eleight.”

“When we [Leigh and Branham] both match up it’s a big game actually one of the most attended games” said Griffin Quadro, junior, Sports Writer for “The Eleight.”

When it comes to the rivalry, it is very much rooted in sports. The schools are very close together, which can draw a big crowd.  Because of the games and competitions each year, it makes sense that these schools have become major rivals.

“Sports is obviously an automatic rivalry considering the schools aren’t that far apart. It’s basically like any other rivalry you can think of, like a Cal [UC Berkeley]-Stanford or a Michigan-Ohio State, but just confined to sports” said McCarthy.

“Branham and Leigh have very little to do with each other outside of sports. Leigh and Branham almost always compete against each other in every sport, and their proximity and history only adds fuel to the fire. The fans even compete against each other” said Osorio.

Despite the events that happened earlier this year sparking a little bit more of a hatred in the schools, there normally has not been many issues between the two. Many people in the two schools have been friends with people are they other schools.

“There are people from both Dartmouth and Price middle school who feed into both schools, and we all have friends at the other” said McCarthy.

Even though there are many reasons that is could be believe that Branham and Leigh could not rivals; however, it is true that they will remain as sports rivals. Due to the closeness and how much to schools will play each other, in every sport, they will always seem to be rivals. Even if it is not a true school rivalry, there will always be a major sports rivalry.