But it won't be just another
non-league football game. You see, Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep and St. Ignatius
College Prep have been vying since 1893, making this the third oldest rivalry
west of the
It all began with a St. Patrick's
Day rugby game in 1893 at
The schools have been going at it since then, despite St. Ignatius bolting the Academic Athletic Association for the West Catholic Athletic League in 1967 (Sacred Heart joined the WCAL in 1970) and Sacred Heart leaving the WCAL for football only to become an independent years ago.
"This game is an opportunity for kids from throughout the city who are friends to compete against each other," St. Ignatius coach Steve Bluford said. "We're excited to play this game and to renew a rivalry that has lasted more than 100 years."
The annual football game is part of the Bruce-Mahoney Memorial Trophy series. It commemorates Bill Bruce (St. Ignatius, class of 1935) and Jerry Mahoney (SHCP, class of 1944) who both died in World War II.
The schools take great pride in winning the trophy. It goes to the school that captures at least two of the three competitions in the major spectator sports - football, basketball and baseball. Because the schools play twice during league in basketball and baseball, only the first games between the schools in those sports are counted.
St. Ignatius leads the Bruce-Mahoney series 41-18 and has possessed the trophy every year since 1997-98.
However, Sacred Heart won last season's football game 28-12.
"It's very big," Sacred Heart athletic director Phil Freed said. "For us, it's on the level of the Axe Game between Cal and Stanford. Not only do our students get into it, but also the alumni. And the game is more like an event than just a football game."
Last year's game drew a crowd of 4,000, unusually large for a prep game in the Bay Area.
This year's game at historic Kezar
- former home of the
"We just need to concentrate on the details of executing our offense and defense," Bluford said. "We need to get better in all phases of the game."
Quarterback Chris McCaffery (445 yards, five touchdowns, four interceptions) leads the Wildcats. He also is the team's placekicker.
Ryan Kirkpatrick (235 yards, one TD) is the leading rusher, while McCaffery's favorite targets are Miles Suter (seven catches, 87 yards, one TD) and Tom Barth (five catches, 118 yards and two scores).
Two years ago Sacred Heart went
2-8 and lost badly to its other
The Fightin' Irish (3-0) have defeated Riordan, Half Moon Bay and Terra Nova so far and now shoot for their second consecutive mythical San Francisco Catholic school championship.
Quarterback Paul Sweeney leads SHCP's triple-option attack. Robert Carlson and Stevie Lee are the running backs and get most of the carries.
The Irish defense is led by lineman Cole Gummere and linebackers Tommy Lee and Anthony Russo.
The really good news for Fightin' Irish fans is that when these teams meet in 2008, it will be in a WCAL game. School officials have given the OK for the Irish to re-join one of the state's best football leagues in two years.