Powder Keg, a History
Sarah O'Neill

Yankees vs. Red Sox

Celtics vs. Lakers

Harvard vs. Yale

These are just a few epic sports rivalries that have carried on throughout history. The Powder Keg, a tradition between the Tilton School Rams and the New Hampton School Huskies, may not be as infamous as those listed above, but it’s legendary in its own right. 

The rivalry between New Hampton and Tilton is a strong one, and it’s almost as old as the schools themselves. Beginning in 1895 (Tilton School was instituted in 1845, New Hampton in 1821), the tradition is one of the oldest in prep school athletics. The matchup between the William Penn Charter School Quakers (Philadelphia) vs. Germantown Academy Patriots (Fort Washington, Pennsylvania) began in 1887, and is believed to be the actual oldest prep school rivalry in the nation. A Boston Globe article published in 1969 called the Tilton-New Hampton showdown the “Harvard-Yale of New Hampshire preppies.” The modern contest is a full day of Rams vs. Huskies, with each fall sport battling one another for P.K. glory. The schools switch off hosting the event, and this year the Rams have the home advantage. 

Surviving two wars and a flu epidemic (Boston Globe, 1969)  the rivalry has gone through numerous “cooling down” periods. The first came in the 1950s, and the most recent came to an end in 2007 when the Powder Keg was once again brought to campus. The “Powder Keg” is physically a keg of gunpowder, although no powder currently resides in this keg.  The name comes from the Huskies, who dedicated the rival game to a former employee in the 1950s. The keg itself is adorned with small plaques notating each years winner, and is present on the day of games every year. After the last contest, it is handed off to that year’s winner for safe keeping. 

The modern contest is a full day of Rams vs. Huskies, with each fall sport battling one another for P.K. glory. The schools switch off hosting the event, and this year the Rams have the home advantage. Last year, the Huskies took possession of the keg on their home turf. This year, the Rams are looking to avenge with games and festivities being held at the Tilton fields on Saturday, November 9th. In addition to a full New Hampton - Tilton School matchup in field hockey, soccer, cross country, mountain biking, and football, Tilton School will hold their 2019-2020 Athletic Hall of Fame induction morning of the event.


We congratulate the following alumni who will be inducted into the Tilton School Athletic Hall of Fame on Saturday, November 9 at 9 a.m. in the MARC Gymnasium.

Amy Longshore Hunt '89

Chase Carrick Kazounis '89  

Rev. Jeffrey Watson ’89  

David Welch ‘12

2009 Boys’ Varsity Basketball Team

The Head Coach was Marcus O’Neil, and his assistants were Brian Aron and Craig Jordan ‘98. Team members included John Bejakian ’09, Chris Bolte ’09, Chris Barsanti ’09, Gerard Coleman ’10, Jamal Coombs-McDaniel ‘09 (Captain), Matt Gaither ’09, Dominic Harris ’09, Eric Hollingsworth ’09, Alex Kershaw ’10, Sam Malone ’11, Georges Niang ’12, Alex Oriakhi ‘09 (Captain), Scott Tavares-Taylor ’09, Yuqiao Xing ’10 and managers Simon Abrahms ’09, Charles Goldstein ‘09 and Nosa Igbinedion '09.

Due to scheduling conflicts, the 2009 Boys’ Varsity Basketball Team will also be honored during a special event in 2020.

Athletic Hall of Fame and Powder Keg Schedule
9 - 10 a.m. | Athletic Hall of Fame Inductions (MARC)

11:45 a.m. | Opening Ceremonies (Burch Field)

12:00 p.m | Field Hockey (Burch Field)

12 - 3:30 p.m. | Tailgating Tent Open (Charles E. Tilton Fields)

12:30 p.m.| Boys’ JV Soccer (Charles E. Tilton Fields)

1:00 p.m. | Boys’ Varsity Soccer (Charles E. Tilton Fields )

1:30 p.m. | Girls’ Varsity Soccer (Charles E. Tilton Fields)

2:00 p.m. | Varsity Football (Charles E. Tilton Fields)

4:00 p.m. | Closing Ceremonies at Charles E. Tilton Fields 

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