All My Homies Hate Freeport (and a few other schools)


Alyssa Gallagher, Sports Editor

Rivalry games are some of the most intense games in all of sports.  Emotions, focus, decisions, and hard work control the game.  A good or bad play can change the game in a split second.  Anything can happen.  No matter what sport you play, there’s always one team that feels so good to beat.  Based on my interviews, it seems that Knoch’s rivalry team in most sports is Freeport.  It makes too much sense that our schools have bad blood.  We’re both small schools from the middle of nowhere and lots of kids know each other.  We’re only 15 minutes away from each other.  No matter which way the game goes, the loser wants revenge and the winner feels indescribable pride and excitement.  Let’s see what our athletes have to say about rivalries in their sports.


Alaina Fields

Junior, Girls Soccer


Fields claims that the girl’s soccer team’s biggest rivals are Freeport and Gateway (but mostly Freeport).  Both Freeport and Knoch had an outstanding team this year, which likely heightened the rivalry.  Both teams were also in the same section, which allowed the girls to play each other more than if they were out of section.

“They were our biggest competitor in winning the section.  Every game we had against them was pretty intense,” Fields said.

In the first game, Knoch lost.  In their second game, the girls won 3-2.  This win was Fields’ favorite moment from playing them.

“It was such a close game and we won from an amazing penalty kick by Emma Slusser.  After she scored and we won in overtime, our whole team sprinted onto the field and celebrated,” Fields said.  

Fields claims that the intensity of the rivalry makes everyone work harder.  There is more pressure to win and excited nerves.  With all of this combined, a win feels much better against a rival, especially if that rival is Freeport.


Codi Mullen

Sophomore, Football

Mullen also believes that Freeport is the football team’s biggest rival.  Both teams play for a trophy called “The Pike.”  The winner of the game wins the trophy for the year.  The use of the trophy heightens the rivalry and makes the game feel more intense and purposeful.  Neither team likes each other.

“Most of us know each other and most of the time we hate each other,” Mullen said. “A lot of trash talk goes on.”

The annual Knoch vs Freeport game is widely talked about in the weeks building up to the game.  In addition to The Pike, the students and social media play a role in intensifying the rivalry.

“When you win or lose to any other team, you don’t really hear about it, but when you play them, the student sections go crazy on social media and so do all the players.  All the players start texting and talking and then it just turns into ‘I can’t wait to play you again’,” Mullen said.  

Mullen’s favorite memory from playing Freeport is when the players started fighting on the field during his freshman year.  

Freeport is close and an in section game for football.  With all these factors considered, it makes too much sense that these teams would have such strong hatred for each other.


Ally Bauer

Senior, Girls Tennis


Freeport doesn’t have a tennis team, so we can eliminate the possibility of them being a rival right off the bat.  According to Bauer, the girl’s tennis team’s biggest rival is Sewickley.  Both teams are in the AA bracket and have faced each other quite a few times in the last couple years.  Additionally, both teams were the top seeds in AA this season.

“We always have the closest matches with them and play them in the finals,” Bauer said.  

Both teams are stacked with talent and go far in WPIAL and PIAA playoffs.  Every year these teams battle for a win.  It’s only fitting that this year Knoch took the WPIAL title in a match against their rival.  

“Our record against them is pretty much even but this year we were 2-0!,” Bauer said.  “They are our biggest matches to win WPIAL’s or states.”

Ultimately Knoch took home the PIAA trophy this season too, leaving no hardware for Sewickley.  This doesn’t happen every year, as the Knights have lost some matches to them.

“It’s super exciting to beat them, but it’s also super sad to lose,” Bauer said.  “Both teams cheer so much and want to win so badly.”

With the talent level of both these teams, we could see a lot more rivalry matchups for State and WPIAL titles in the future.


Hattie McGraw 

Senior, Girls Basketball


Through all her years of playing basketball, McGraw has played against Freeport.  She believes that they are the Knoch girl’s biggest rival.  More recently, Highlands has become a rival.  Senior Nina Shaw’s sister plays for Highlands, which has created a sister rivalry that’s spread across both teams.  McGraw says that although Highlands didn’t used to be a strong team, they have become better in recent years.  Despite this new rivalry, the current rivalry with Freeport runs much deeper.

“We are two similar school teams and the wins are pretty even.  Sometimes we have a good year or they have a good year,” McGraw said.  

McGraw also thinks that the familiarity of the teams heightens the rivalry.  They not only know each other from school basketball, but from playing in other leagues together.

“You know a lot of girls that are playing.  Some are friends with each other.  We’ve been playing against them since 7th grade, said McGraw.

Knoch has been the better team in recent years and typically beats Freeport without much problem.

McGraw’s favorite memory from playing Freeport occurred during her freshman year when senior Lauren Cihonski hit a game winning basket against Freeport on senior night.  Both teams were more evenly matched that season.

Although they haven’t done much losing to Freeport lately, McGraw remembers the feeling well.

“When you lose, you take it personally.” 

Hopefully the girls can continue winning in the future after McGraw and the rest of the seniors graduate.


Brynne Smith

Junior, Volleyball


Smith believes that Knoch volleyball’s biggest rival is Mars.  Both teams have been in the same section for many years, which has allowed the rivalry to grow.  The closeness of the schools also contributes to the rivalry.  

“They’re around the same level of play as us.  They normally have us in height terms but that doesn’t mean we can’t rise up to their level.  We have to prepare and practice hard before playing them,” Smith said.

Part of preparing for a game includes practicing specific situations so the team is ready and knows what to do come game time.  Games against Mars are intense, and as Smith said, every point is hard fought and hard earned.

Although she doesn’t have a particular favorite moment from playing Mars (although I know she’ll always remember getting a kill off my set to her because she doesn’t get to hit very often), Smith enjoys the rush feeling when it’s a tight game.

The rivalry has intensified over the years as players on both sides have upped their game.  Mars and Knoch have faced off since 7th grade, allowing much time for players on both sides to understand the other’s game play.  Cheering after a win of a rally, student sections, and social media have drastically increased these team’s hatred for each other.

“Personally, they are my favorite team to play because of the skill their players have and how much work it takes to just score one point.  You have to be on your A game if you even want a chance to take the lead,” Smith said.

In the famous words of Brynne Smith (and many others), “P*** on Mars.”


Travis Bishop 

Junior, Boys Lacrosse


Bishop says that Freeport is the lacrosse team’s biggest rival.  Who’s surprised?  It seems that Freeport and Knoch have bad blood in most sports, so of course it would continue in lacrosse.  

“They are dirty and willing to put up a fight.  No one can stand Freeport,” Bishop said.  

The physicality of the sport certainly adds to it.  Who wants to be nice to the guy that’s smacking your stick and hitting you all game?  No one with that dog in him, that’s for sure.

Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, but for Bishop and the lacrosse team, “A win means everything to us.  Dubs against other teams are just dubs.”


Bishop’s favorite moment from playing Freeport is the bench clearing fight his freshman year or laying kids out.

Like most other athletes have claimed, the rivalry started because of the closeness of the schools.  Both teams are trying to be the best, but only one can come out victorious.

Lacrosse season is just around the corner, and Bishop wants Freeport to know, “YOU DON’T STAND A CHANCE AGAINST US!”