Calvert Hall tries again to end Dons' dominance Loyola seeks 8th straight in oldest Catholic rivalry

November 28, 1996|By Steven Kivinski | Steven Kivinski,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Barring an upset in today's 77th annual Turkey Bowl at Memorial Stadium, a fifth straight graduating class will pass through Calvert Hall without knowing what it feels like to beat the Loyola Dons on Thanksgiving Day.

The Dons have owned the Cardinals in their last seven meetings, and another win today would give Loyola the longest winning streak in the history of the nation's oldest Catholic-school football rivalry.

"The Game," which will be played at the Ravens' new downtown stadium beginning in 1998, will not be televised this year. Tickets are on sale at the gate. Kickoff is scheduled for 10 a.m.

"It [the losing streak] wears on you. I can't say it doesn't, but I haven't felt any undue burden or undue stress," said Calvert Hall coach Lou Eckerl, who is 8-23 in three seasons and 0-3 as a coach on Thanksgiving Day. "The alums want this game, for sure, but I haven't gotten any phones calls in the night or any hate letters. At least it hasn't gotten to that point, yet."

Not that the boys from Blakefield need any extra incentive to win, but for the second consecutive year Loyola enters the contest in need of victory to take a piece of the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference championship from co-champs St. Mary's and Mount St. Joseph.

Loyola senior running back Eddie Holman, who was called up from the JV to play in the Turkey Bowl as a freshman, has tasted three Thanksgiving Day victories but is really looking forward to tasting his fourth and final one.

"As a freshman, I was amazed at how hard our seniors worked during the week before the game and throughout the game itself, but now I know what they were going through," said Holman, a 5-foot-9, 175 pounder who ran for 606 yards and six touchdowns on 131 carries. "Everyone wants to go out with a win, and we have some big-time underclassmen who want to make that happen for us."

Loyola (5-4), which snapped a three-game losing skid with a recent win over John Carroll, will have its hands full with Calvert Hall running back Jason Marrow. A 6-foot-1, 195-pound senior, Marrow is one of the MIAA's toughest runners, with 1,401 yards and 15 touchdowns to prove it.

Offensively, the Dons, who lead the series 38-30-8, will rely on the arm and legs of junior quarterback Brant Hall. Hall has 439 yards and nine touchdowns on 77 carries this season and has completed 48 of 109 passes for 610 yards and two touchdowns. When Hall goes back to throw, he has a trio of reliable targets in Jason Boyd, Mike Plantholt and John Price.

Senior captain Tim Nicholas, a two-way standout for the Dons at outside linebacker and running back, leads Loyola in tackles with 10 stops a game and "is also our our tough yardage runner," said Dons' veteran coach Joe Brune.

Calvert Hall's victory over City, a team that defeated Loyola 27-7, gives Eckerl some hope heading into the season finale, but the Cards' win over a quality opponent like City also serves as reminder to the Dons not to take The Hall lightly.

"This year, we've been making a tremendous number of mistakes and if we don't correct them we'll be in real trouble," said Brune. "These games are always emotional, especially at the outset, so the team that gets off to a good start usually has the advantage."

Pub Date: 11/28/96

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