The St. Joseph’s Marauders and the Canisius Crusaders take the field in a pivotal Monsignor Martin Association (MMA) matchup. This game has more on the line than just bragging rights, the MMA title is at stake. If the Marauders can pull off the win then they will claim a share of the MMA title. If the Crusaders win then they will win the MMA outright. If the game is anything like last season’s MMA semifinal battle, then I think we are all in for a spectacular show. St. Joe’s defeated Canisius 48-47 in stunning fashion last year. Late in the 4th, St. Joe’s trailed 47-40 when quarterback Chad Kelly found his fullback Rodrick Payne in the end zone with less than 20 seconds left. Instead of going for the tie, head coach Dennis Gilbert elected to go for 2 and the win. The Marauders converted and left a bitter taste in the mouths of the Crusaders. Given last season’s finish and the MMA title on the line, it’s no wonder that the 81st installment of this rivalry may be one of the biggest yet
Mention the name Dennis Gilbert and instantly one thinks of St. Joe’s football. He became a starter immediately as a sophomore holding down a defensive backfield spot. For his senior season Dennis was named to the starting quarterback post. This meant double duty as he was still the mainstay of the defensive backfield. Perhaps his most memorable game was his last as a high school player against arch rival Canisius, when he scored the Marauders only touchdown, passed for the two point conversion and knocked down a pass in the winning moments of the game, preserving an 8-6 victory. After graduation in June 1984, Dennis returned in the fall to assume the reins of the Junior Varsity football program and was a mainstay for 21 years. He returned to the Marauders JV program in 2008 and took over the varsity program in 2010. In his first year at the controls he led St. Joe’s to a share of the league championship and won the Monsignor Martin Playoff Championship. In 2011, the Marauders were once again the league champions.
Joe was the prototype pocket quarterback. At 6’3 190 he possessed a rocket arm and distributed the ball effectively to fellow stars Phil McConkey, Bill Koessler, Charlie Weber, and Carl Emerling. Joe was the first quarterback of the famous Streak teams. Joe led the Crusaders to victories as a sophomore, 36-12, a junior 8-7 and closed out his senior year with a 36-12 rout of the Marauders. Joe led the Burke League in passing as a sophomore, junior, and senior. He earned All-Catholic as a senior. Following High School he attended Boston College. Congratulations Joe Brehmer on your induction into the Great American Rivalry Series Hall of Fame.
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