The St. Vincent St. Mary Fighting Irish welcome the Walsh Jesuit Warriors on Friday August 31st. This annual matchup dates back to 1969 with Walsh Jesuit leading the all-time series 21-15. The schools are separated by a mere 10 miles in Summit County, Ohio, and every year meet on the gridiron in the battle for “The Bell”. The Irish and Warriors have combined to win 5 of the 7 State Titles that belong to Summit County; the last one coming in 1999.
Last year’s matchup was an offensive explosion. The teams combined for 927 yards of total offense, with the Fighting Irish pulling off the thrilling 48-46 victory. The Irish graduated 10 starters from last year’s 10-3 squad that made it to the Division III regional final before losing. The offense will be led by 2 Senior Quarterbacks, Aaron Bushner and Clayton Uecker. They will have 2 talented Wide Receivers to pass to in Jordan Hargrove and Fransohn Bickley, both of which also play on the defensive side of the ball. Bickley recorded 833 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns in 2011, to go along with his 42 tackles and 2 interceptions on defense. Hargrove had 886 yards and 11 touchdowns receiving. The Irish defense is led by Junior Linebacker Dante Booker, who recorded 157 tackles, 11 sacks and an interception
during a standout Sophomore season.
Walsh Jesuit finished the 2011 season with a 10-2 overall record on their way to the North Coast League Blue Division Championship, before losing in the Division I Regional Quarterfinals. The Warriors feature a roster that has numerous players lining up on both sides of the ball. Senior Doug Lewis, may be seeing more snaps under center this year after playing Wide Receiver, Defensive Back and some Quarterback last season. Lewis, and Sophomore Pat Ford will form a formidable quarterbacking platoon. Senior Crissean Caver will be returning at Wide Receiver and Defensive Back. Caver and Lewis combined for nearly 1,000 yards receiving and 10 touchdowns last season. The Warriors will have their hands full this season as they face a tough early season schedule that features Canton McKinley, the Fighting Irish and Columbus’ Bishop Watterson.
Stay tuned to the Great American Rivalry Series to see who will bring home “The Bell” after this year’s battle.