by Francis Doyle, guest contributor
BWHS Class of 1962
It’s football season in Columbus, Ohio, so when most people mention “The Game” at this time of year, they are often referring to the annual fall football match-up between The Ohio State University Buckeyes and the University of Michigan Wolverines. However, in the realm of high school football, “The Game” stands for the rivalry that has developed over the years between the Bishop Watterson Eagles and the Stallions of St. Francis DeSales. This annual meeting is an intense high school football contest between two of Columbus’s parochial powerhouses where these neighborhood schools, located a mere 2.8 miles apart, battle it out each year on the gridiron.
It wasn’t always the rivalry that it is today, though. As everyone knows, to have a rivalry both teams have to win, the games have to be intense, and there has to be a lot of emotion and passion behind both teams. For the first 15 years — from 1963 through 1977 — Watterson won 13 games while only losing 1 – one game ended in a tie; conversely, from 1978 through 2009 the Eagles and Stallions have played 38 times with each team winning 19 times. So, I guess you could say the rivalry really had its inception in 1978 and 1979 when DeSales won back to back games and brought not only the intensity, but also the emotion and passion to ignite the rivalry.
The teams have played a total of 53 games from 1963 through 2009 with Watterson holding a 12 game advantage – 32 wins versus 20 losses and 1 tie – the 12 game lead all coming as a result of those early games played during the first 15 years. The schools have met twice in the same season six times as qualifiers for the state playoffs with Watterson winning four of those contests.
Watterson has had two 9 game winning streaks during this 47 year span while, prior to the DeSales current five game winning streak that started in 2007, the most consecutive wins that DeSales could muster was only 3.
Watterson has scored 948 points [a 17.3 point per game average] while DeSales has scored 622 points [an 11.7 point per game average]. Watterson’s biggest margin of victory was in 1966, a 52 to 0 blowout while, in 1994, DeSales crushed the Eagles 41 to 6. That 35 point margin of victory for the Stallions being the only regular season loss for Watterson that year – the Eagles had a total of 83 points scored on them in 1994 with the 41 points that DeSales scored accounting for almost half of them.
DeSales has posted 3 shutouts over the years [1982, 1990 & 1995] while Watterson has shut out the Stallions 9 times [1966, 1970, 1972, 1976, 1977, 1981, 1984, 1989 & 2004] – 25 games have been decided by 7 points or less.
Both schools are rich in tradition and the respect that each team has for the other is evident in the way the games are played – hard hitting but clean.
Here’s to another intense and passionate game for the Eagles and the Stallions!