Taft Day is sure to bring its own special dose of drama each year, and the 2021 edition was no exception, with Hotchkiss eking out a narrow 6-5 victory under stormy skies.
The volleyball program carried most of the water for the Bearcats, sweeping the Rhinos with victories by the varsity (3-0), JV (3-0), and thirds (3-1) teams.
Other teams notching wins for Hotchkiss were the girls varsity soccer team, which won a critical contest 3-1 to punch its playoff ticket and earn a #7 seed in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.
The boys cross country team also backed up their Founders League titles from the previous weeks, with the varsity finishing eight places ahead of Taft and the JV finishing five places clear.
The varsity boys soccer and field hockey teams suffered defeats, but the field hockey team will continue play this week as the #5 seed in the NEPSAC playoffs. The girls cross country teams were also bested by their southern rivals.
Weather proved to be the major opponent on the day, as a serious thunderstorm swept into the area in the mid-afternoon and forced cancelation of all the JV and thirds soccer and field hockey games.
Spectators were also forced into the MAC for a time, adding to the raucous crowd in there to cheer on the success on the volleyball court.
By the time the football game kicked off a later 4:30 start, the bad weather had mostly subsided, and fans were treated to another instant classic. The Bearcats jumped out to an early 12-0 lead, but saw Taft storm back and take the contest by the final score of 18-12.