The drumroll for the 100th renewal of the oldest Catholic high school football rivalry in America began with the unveiling of a logo for the 2019 game between Calvert Hall and Loyola Blakefield during a news conference April 1.
Referred to as the Turkey Bowl, the centennial game is being promoted with a logo that features a fan of turkey feathers and a football along with the words "Turkey Bowl" and the numeral "100"; the dates of the series, 1920-2019, and the two schools' symbols.
So far, the Loyola Dons hold a 49-42-8 advantage in the series, but Calvert Hall has been gaining ground quickly of late. The Cardinals have won five in a row and nine of the last 10, including a 40-7 rout in 2018.
The Thanksgiving Day game will be contested at 10 a.m., but a site won't be announced until after the Baltimore Ravens' 2019 schedule is finalized, meaning that M&T Bank Stadium (the site of the 2015 Turkey Bowl) might be a possibility. The last three years, the game was played at Towson University's Johnny Unitas Stadium.
Each year, the Calvert Hall-Loyola Blakefield game is enormous for the two schools and their fans, and the century mark that's attached to the upcoming contest heightens the import.
"You have to try to keep a balance regarding the game," said Calvert Hall head coach Donald Davis, who is 9-3 in the game. "On the one hand, in effect, there's a perception that it is the whole season. But then, you also have to understand that it is just one high school football game being contested by kids representing two great schools."
Calvert Hall wide receiver Cole Herbert, a junior, noted that the larger-than-life significance of the game against Loyola is probably stronger for alumni and fans than for the players who have to play the game.
"Last year, we won 12 games -- and it was the first time in school history that we won 12 games," said Herbert, who scored three touchdowns in the 2018 Thanksgiving Day game. "But when you talk to people who may not follow the program closely, all they want to ask about is the Turkey Bowl. I've played in three of them and we won all three, so hopefully, we can make it a fourth."
Intent on stopping Calvert Hall's run is Loyola quarterback Jordan Moore, a sophomore.
"You have to be impressed with the tradition of this game as one of the longest rivalries in the country," Moore said. "But I have to put aside some of that and work extra hard as a quarterback and as a captain to push our team so that we can win this game."
Loyola head coach Anthony Zehyoue is going into his third year as head coach of the Dons. Unlike Calvert Hall's Davis, who has a long association with the Cardinals-Dons rivalry, Zehyoue admitted he was introduced to the legacy involving the two schools when he arrived in Maryland several years ago. But he's well acquainted now.
"My approach is that I'm going to do all that I can from today until Thanksgiving morning to make sure that we improve," Zehyoue said. "Yes, it's an important game but after all the fun and festivities, the outcome will be decided by whether we can block and tackle and throw the ball and catch the ball. I want to let our team know that what's important is that we work hard and when the time comes, that we give our best effort."
Photo Credit: Bill Ordine/PressBox