Loyola, Calvert Hall ready for the 76th Turkey Bowl No. 15 Dons are aiming for seventh straight win

November 23, 1995|By Steven Kivinski | Steven Kivinski,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

The cliches have been circulating around the campuses of Calvert Hall and Loyola this week like a persuasive chain letter.

Alumni from both schools have visited their alma maters all week to show their support and remind the players of the gravity of this morning's 76th annual Turkey Bowl at Memorial Stadium.

"All I know is that we better win this one," said Loyola two-way starter Channon Young. "We know that if we lose this one, we're going to be disowned by the alumni. We can't let them down."

For the past six years -- and nine of the last 10 -- Loyola graduates have had one more thing to thankful for on Thanksgiving Day.

The Dons, who are coming off an upset over then-No. 1-ranked Mount St. Joseph two weeks ago, are poised to extend their streak to seven games. If they do, it would match the longest winning streak in the series set by Calvert Hall (1978-1984).

Making the pot even sweeter is the fact that a victory in today's game, which will be televised live on Home Team Sports, would not only ensure the 15th-ranked Dons (5-4) of a winning season, but would give them a share of the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference title with Mount St. Joe and St. Mary's.

"I don't particularly like the role as favorite but it's something we have to live with," said Loyola coach Joe Brune.

"I'm the kind of coach that doesn't look past anyone and given the tradition of this game and the length of time the teams have to prepare for it, you never know what can happen.

"There are a lot of intangibles involved. The better team doesn't always win this game."

Calvert Hall coach Lou Eckerl learned that in 1983. Then an assistant to former Cardinals coach Augie Miceli, Eckerl watched as Gerrick McPhearson returned a kickoff to the Dons' 3 on a reverse play in the final seconds, setting up the winning touchdown for Calvert Hall and spoiling what would have been a perfect season for Loyola.

"We are the underdogs with nothing to lose and Loyola has everything to lose," said Eckerl, whose unranked Cardinals enter the nation's oldest Catholic-school football rivalry sporting a 3-6 record (1-3 in the league).

"We're a young team and being young we've made mistakes, but we have to limit those and hopefully have some luck of our own."

Calvert Hall's secondary is going to need all the luck it can get against Loyola's big and talented receiving corps.

After experiencing some growing pains early in the season, Loyola sophomore quarterback Brant Hall has gained confidence the pocket and has thrown for 836 yards and six touchdowns.

Hall's favorite target has been senior wide receiver Art Price, a 6-foot-5, 210 pound deep threat who has hauled in 24 passes for 525 yards and four touchdowns. Giving Hall someone to throw to underneath are tight ends Ryan Burch (6-5, 235 pounds) and Todd Pivec (6-2, 225).

Senior running back Matt Smith (103 carries, 730 yards, 11 touchdowns) is Loyola's biggest weapon on the ground while Burch, Pivec and Mike Latchford anchor the Dons' 50 defense.

Two-way starters and team captains Ryan Hartley and David Salla will try to turn things around for Calvert Hall, which trails in the series 37-30-8.

"The way we see it, both teams are 0-0 right now and anything is possible," Hartley said.

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