Poly will have an unusual group of supporters when it plays City College at Memorial Stadium in their annual Thanksgiving Day game at 2 p.m. Thursday.
The winners of the 10 a.m. game at the stadium between Loyola and Calvert Hall will be in the stands in the afternoon, trying to root Poly on to an upset win over No. 1 ranked and undefeated City.
Loyola and Calvert Hall are tied for second place with 7-1 records in the MSA A Conference. A City loss would make it and the Loyola-Calvert Hall winner co-champions.
"This is [coach] Joe Brune's 25th year at Loyola," Poly coach Augie Waibel was saying at practice yesterday, "and it's my 25th year at Poly.
"In January, they're holding a dinner for Joe. George Young [New York Giants general manager], Mel Filler [Calvert Hall assistant coach] and I are going to be the speakers. There's nothing I'd rather do that night than present Joe Brune with a share of the championship."
Poly has had a rare off year, losing four MSA games to Loyola, Calvert Hall, Gilman and Cardinal Gibbons. City will be heavily favored.
"We'll give a good account of ourselves," Waibel promised. "We have a good defensive team, but we have trouble scoring. We lost one game, 7-6 in overtime, and another, 3-0. In a traditional rivalry like this, anything can happen."
"Poly can beat City," says Calvert Hall coach Bill Mackley. "The key is whether Poly can score. If Poly can score, it should be a good football game. Poly has an excellent defense.
"City's biggest thing is speed. They say speed kills. That's what killed us -- City's speed. City's young, too. Most of their players are back next year."
Calvert Hall and Loyola appear evenly matched. The Hall has outscored its opponents 147-68; Loyola is 145-51 over its opposition.
The difference in the morning game could be Loyola's Brad Hoag. He's one of the best high school running backs we've had around Baltimore in a while. Two years ago, Hoag ran 80 yards for a touchdown against Calvert Hall on Loyola's first play from scrimmage.
"Hoag is not the only weapon Loyola has," says Mackley. "Their fullback, Lafferty, is good, and their quarterback, Billy Evans, has a good arm, he has speed and he fakes well."
Similarities between Loyola's Brune and Calvert Hall's Mackley: each has a son who's a defensive end on his team, Colin Brune at Loyola, Sean Mackley at Calvert Hall; the coaches' wives have the same name -- Sheila Brune, Sheilah Mackley.
Predictions: Loyola to beat Calvert Hall, 20-13, and City over Poly, 21-6.
* City, Loyola and Calvert Hall have added reason to pull for Baltimore to get an NFL franchise. Their doubleheader has been played at Memorial Stadium for nearly a half century, but with the Orioles abandoning 33rd Street the future of the place is indefinite.
Says Jerry Savage, Loyola's athletic director:
"We don't know where these games will be played after this year. We're hoping they'll still be at the stadium. There's going to be an NFL preseason game there in August, so they'll have to have it ready for that. If we get an NFL team, they'll have to keep the stadium open for a couple years. That would help us. We've made no plans to play anywhere else."
* The handsome, athletic-looking guy spotted running the Johns Hopkins track who looks exactly like former Syracuse lacrosse great Gary Gait is Gary Gait. He lives in the neighborhood and works here for STX, the equipment manufacturer. Gary and his twin, Paul -- who will play for Detroit again in the indoor league this winter -- will appear at Lax World Friday with a host of lacrosse coaches. Saturday the Gaits will be at Bacharach-Rasin's Severna Park store from 11-1 and at the Towson store from 2-4.
* According to some coaches who saw Maryland open the basketball season with an 83-53 win over Mount St. Mary's, the Terps' most improved player is Woodlawn High graduate Evers Burns. The 6-foot-8, 247-pound junior had 16 points and was Maryland's leading rebounder with nine. The Terps host UMES tonight.
* Not all the talk about Pam Shriver's Tennis Festival at the Arena tonight is about tennis. Says a woman who plays Inter-Club tennis here: "When Jennifer Capriati played here last year, she looked like a typical 14-year-old kid. Now she uses makeup and looks glamorous. What a transition in one year."