by David Fatzinger
Tradition, Honor, and Faith are three words that mean a lot to all of us, but to the Yellow Jackets of McGill-Toolen Catholic High School in Mobile, Alabama, they are words that mean a little more.
The annual “Battle for the Cannon” between McGill-Toolen and Murphy was played on a picture perfect night for football, and the but the play in the first half was in no way picture perfect. Before a sell-out crowd of nearly 15,000, and with a national television audience watching the game on Fox Sports South across the country, both Toolen and Murphy turned the ball over on multiple occasions and a close Toolen halftime lead of 12-7 turned on the strength of Lanse Watson’s legs in the second half. Watson, who ran for 141 yards on 24 carries and two second half touchdowns, turned the tide of the game after being challenged by Coach Dean at halftime.
“At halftime, I challenged Lanse and the offensive line to be more physical,” said Coach Dean. And they were just that, driving the length of the field on three different occasions for scores in the second half.
But Murphy would not give up the cannon easily, fighting all the way to the end when Darrell Moore returned a late Watson fumble 40 yards for a touchdown with 1:37 left cutting the lead to 23-18. But that was the last score of the game and, as the clock ran down to zero, Coach Dean and his Yellow Jackets began to celebrate.
And after Coach Dean had accepted the Great American Rivalry Series Championship Trophy, he asked his boys to take a knee for a quick prayer and a quick talk.
“Tonight, we won because we believed in each other. Tonight, we won because we are McGill-Toolen.”
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- McGill Toolen vs. Murphy – 2010
Tradition, Faith, and Honor. That is the way they do it at McGill-Toolen High School.