More than “Bragging Rights” – The Story of the Addington Jug

September 21, 2018 10:40 PM

(ABC 6 News) – On the gridiron in the Med City, the grudge matches within the city of Rochester needs no explanation--but what they play for may need it.

“The cross-town rival games, they’re pretty heated to begin with so I was kind of lukewarm to the idea,” Century Panthers head football coach Jon Vik said.


The idea which Vik speaks of is a trophy—actually, not a trophy, to be more specific, it’s a jug.

“The kids know each other, and that jugs add a little more to (the games),” Mayo Spartans head football coach Donny Holcomb said.

“I like (the jug) better in blue than any other color,” Vik added. “It’s kind of that back-and-forth type trophy, and it makes it kind of fun.”

The jug is actually named the “Addington Jug,” and it’s meant for match-ups on the football field in Rochester.

“All I know is that it’s a cross-town rival deal,” Century senior running back and linebacker Colin Smith said. “I don’t know how long it’s been around, but it’s kind of a big deal. (When I first started playing varsity football) I had no clue what it meant.”

“When I was a freshman, all I heard from the seniors was ‘jug,’” Mayo senior wide receiver and defensive back Calvin Dixon added. “I always wanted to know about it.”

“The records, you throw them out the window,” Vik said. “You never know, these kids have played against each other for years and years. Whatever happens out there, its bragging rights for the year. The intensity level is definitely higher.”

The question which Smith, Dixon, and their teammates have thought from the Addington Jug games is brief and to the point—how did “the jug” begin?

The “jug” was created by former Mayo head football coach James Miller—the school’s all-time winningest coach in football program history.

“My last year of coaching in 2007, I got a milk jug from my dad’s farm, and (the intention was) putting some scores on it, and I think it brings a whole lot to the kids nowadays.”

Miller said he was inspired by the idea of “the jug” by the Minnesota Golden Gophers football team, who plays Michigan every year for the “Little Brown Jug,” and Wisconsin each season for “The Axe,” but he got the idea of a jug from a former football parent.

“My son (Jordan) was a quarterback for me from 2005 to 2006, and a parent in that group, Loren Stead, kept approaching me saying that we should get something started,” Miller recalled.

After that, one of Miller’s assistant coaches provided a jug which he owned—Miller never paid him back with a jug from his dad’s farm, but the meaning of the “jug” game has taken off.

“In 2007, we brought (the jug) over to John Marshall,” Miller said. “I talked to their head coach, Jack Drews, before the game, and he said ‘yea,’ they beat us, they exchanged hands in the first game it was played for, then Century beat John Marshall that year, so it changed hands again, then at the end of the year, we beat Century, so we got the jug back.”

The Jug, which is named the “Addington Jug,” is named in honor of former Mayo Athletic Director Gary Addington—besides serving as the Mayo Athletic Director, Addington helped hire all of the coaches at Century high school when the school was built close to two decades ago.

“Gary hired me as a coach in 1984, he hired me as a head coach in 1994, and he was truly a role model to all the coaches in the district,” Miller said.

“Ultimately, we’re celebrating Gary Addington and his contribution to Rochester Athletics,” Holcomb added. “Not Mayo or Century or John Marshall, but Rochester as a whole.”

Entering Friday, since 2007, there have been 32 total “jug games.”

“There are a lot of games that are really really close football games, and there’s a reason for that because it’s that cross-town rival game,” Vik said.

Over those 32 games, Mayo (16-9) owns the best record, followed by John Marshall (8-11) and Century (8-12).

“In 2012, John Marshall had come here during the regular season, we were up by three scores at the half, but they ended up beating us in the final minute,” Holcomb remembered. “Then, we went back to their place in the playoffs, and we were able to beat them and get the jug back that way.”

After claiming the Addington Jug, the winning team gets the rights to hold onto it until they lose a game to a Rochester opponent. The winning teams will paint the jug in their school colors, so having an artistic touch is a must.

“There have been several coats of paint on the jug,” Miller said.

For schools who own the jug, it brings a lot of pride to the football programs—so the last thing they want to do is give it up.

“The jug, it just shows who’s the best in the city, and losing that jug, it’s a terrible feeling,” Smith said. “When the game is over, the other team that wins is usually holding that jug up. Watching that, it’s a terrible feeling.”

“It’s not a good feeling at all,” Holcomb agreed. “You get to feel those abased emotions. It’s not a good time.”

With the Addington Jug, it’s not just about bragging rights—it’s for each school’s communities.

“We’re doing this for our student section, the seniors, the elderlies who come to watch us,” Dixon said. “It’s for the town, and for the people to know that we’re doing this for them, not just for us.”


Sean Tehan

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