2-7 Calvert Hall likes chance to begin again

November 24, 1994|By Steven Kivinski | Steven Kivinski,Contributing Writer

Lou Eckerl didn't graduate from Calvert Hall or Loyola, but the Cardinals' first-year football coach is well aware of the importance of this morning's 75th meeting between the two Baltimore County Catholic schools.

"We look at this as a whole new season," said Eckerl, whose unranked team enters today's 10 a.m. kickoff at Memorial Stadium with an unflattering 2-7 record. "We're going to put the regular season behind us now and treat this like a bowl game.

"It doesn't matter to the alumni what you do during the year, it's what you do on Thanksgiving Day that matters. You can go 9-0 and lose this game and someone will think something is wrong with your program and you can go 0-9 and win this game and, in the eyes of the alums, you have a great team."

With his Dons boasting a 5-3 record, Loyola coach Joe Brune doesn't feel the urgency he did a year ago when his 3-7 team salvaged its season with a 16-11 win over the Cards at Minnegan Stadium, but he, too, knows what impact the "Turkey Bowl" can have on next year's squad.

"Last year, we were coming off a horrendous game against Gibbons and I didn't know what direction we were going in and [the win over Calvert Hall] put us back on the right track," said Brune, whose team has beaten Calvert Hall the past five years and eight of the last nine. "If we hadn't snapped back, we could have had a struggle this year."

After losing to Gonzaga -- a team ranked as high as No. 3 by the Washington Post -- in its opener, No. 10 Loyola put together a four-game winning streak, highlighted by a 38-33 victory over then-No. 3 ranked McDonogh.

The Dons then suffered back-to-back losses to Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference co-champs Gilman and Mount St. Joseph before routing Gibbons in their most recent game, 50-6.

Senior running back Scott Brown could cause some problems for a Calvert Hall team that won its first two games before losing its next seven. Brown, who carried the ball 24 times for 103 yards and both of his team's touchdowns last Thanksgiving, has rushed for 1,287 yards and 13 touchdowns in eight games this year.

"It's important that we keep the ball on offense so that they can't score and we have to control their big running back [Brown]," said Eckerl, whose team trails in the series, 36-30-8. "Those are our two biggest challenges."

Brune, like Eckerl, has scouted his archrivals more than any other team and he sounds genuinely concerned about his team's ability to contain Calvert Hall running backs Donald Davis and Greg Eichelberger and senior quarterback Nick Murow.

"Calvert Hall has a very strong running game and I think their record is somewhat misleading," Brune said. "They've been in a number of games, but they took themselves out of the games with mistakes.

"They were right in their game with Gilman until the middle of the fourth quarter when they failed to score and we lost to Gilman in the last 17 seconds.

"If Calvert Hall comes up with the kind of effort they had against Gilman, this game could be nip and tuck."

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