ZEPHYRHILLS — A crowd of nearly 5,000 people crowded into Bulldog Stadium on Friday night for the 9-Mile War rivalry game between the Pasco High Pirates and the Zephyrhills High Bulldogs.
Zephyrhills City Councilman Ken Burgess, a teacher at ZHS, said 3,700 tickets were sold and about 1,000 — including volunteers, band members, workers and others with free passes — also helped pack the stadium.
For Burgess and others in Zephyrhills, the only disappointment was the final score —a Pirate win of 24-16.
The stakes are always high just in terms of bragging rights, but this year the winner earned a playoff spot.
Stakes are perhaps higher for Zephyrhills Mayor Danny Burgess who made a wager with Dade City Mayor Camille Hernandez on the outcome of the game. The mayors agreed that the loser would have to wear the winner’s mascot costume to the next city council or commission meeting.
Danny Burgess said he will be wearing a Pirate mascot costume at the Nov. 25 Zephyrhills council meeting.
“Painful though it is, I will honor my end of the bargain and don the pirate costume at the Nov. 25 council meeting,” the mayor said.
He said he plans on wearing the costume until the end of the meeting so next year the Dade City mayor will have to wear the Bulldog uniform for an entire meeting.
“I’m also thinking of only speaking in pirate so that next year the mayor will only be able to bark,” he quipped.
“Friday night’s game was such a wonderful example of two communities getting together. The 9-Mile War is a great tradition,” he said. “The only downside was the outcome of the game.”
Zephyrhills Rotary Clubs will also be making a payment of a case of water each to the Dade City Rotary Clubs in payment of the results of an annual wager on the 9-Mile War. Manny Funes, who started the wager in 2000, said the payment will be made next Monday at the Dade City Noon Rotary meeting at 12:15 p.m. on the third floor of the Dade City Business Center.