Father to son
Loyola-Calvert Hall: Thanksgiving tradition that's handed down through generations
In this photo from 1978, Calvert Hall's John Johnson scooted around Todd DeMario (27) and Loyola for a touchdown at Memorial Stadium. (Sun file photo / November 20, 2007)
When Tim Bolte and Paul Scheel III go at each other in tomorrow's Loyola-Calvert Hall football game, Tony Breschi and Paul Scheel Jr. will feel every forearm shiver from the stands. And not just because one man is rooting for his nephew and the other for his son.
The reason: 29 years ago, Breschi and the elder Scheel were doing the very same thing to each other in the very same game.
With a series dating back 88 years, Loyola (8-1) and Calvert Hall (5-5) boast a Thanksgiving Day rivalry steeped in ancestral lore. It's not uncommon for several generations of families to have donned the blue-and-gold jerseys of Loyola or the cardinal-and-gold outfits of Calvert Hall.
For instance, Bolte - a star linebacker - is the 11th in his family over three generations to suit up for Loyola. The patriarch, Lou Breschi, 71, will be in the stands at M&T Bank Stadium, wearing a Loyola jacket and whooping like the kid he was in 1953.
"Oh, we beat them that year, we did," said Breschi, then a senior tackle on a Loyola team that defeated Calvert Hall, 14-6. Those were the days of bobby sox and bonfires and bed checks for players, who'd better have been home by 7 the night before The Game.
It is still very much The Game for Bolte and the younger Scheel, Calvert Hall's standout guard. Scheel has shaved his hair into a Mohawk for the Cardinals' finale. His job tomorrow will be to stop the likes of Bolte.
"This is what our year comes down to," Bolte said. "If we lose now, that's all we'll hear. We might go 8-2, but we'll have embarrassed ourselves on Thanksgiving."
That won't happen, said Bolte, who grew up eating his turkey with a side order of Loyola football.
"[The rivalry] is always the topic of conversation at our family's Thanksgiving table, whether the ladies like it or not," he said.
Bolte and Scheel were weaned on stories from the Loyola-Calvert Hall series - tales that come flooding back to their elders at this time each year.
On Nov. 22, 1978, the schools squared off under gray skies at Memorial Stadium. Paul Scheel Jr. was the center on a Calvert Hall team riding a seven-game winning streak. Across the line stood Tony Breschi (Bolte's uncle), a defensive end for an undersized Loyola team intent on upsetting the new Maryland Scholastic Association champions.
All that week, Scheel said, telegrams poured in from Calvert Hall alumni egging the team on.
"In the locker room, we had a wall of telegrams from as far away as Europe," he said.
Loyola had pre-game hype, too, enlisting Joe Washington, then a running back for the Baltimore Colts, to speak at a team rally.
"He [Washington] shook my hand and said, 'Good luck,' " Breschi said. "That was kind of neat."
Today, neither Scheel, a doctor at Johns Hopkins Hospital, nor Breschi, a Towson lawyer, remembers going head-to-head in that game won by Calvert Hall, 21-8. But both men recall the awe they felt in clattering down the tunnel and stepping onto the turf before 10,000 fans in a stadium drenched in its blue-and-white past.
"It was pretty intimidating, seeing those stands rising way up out of the ground," Scheel said. "I remember thinking, [the place] looks bigger when you look up at it than when you look down."
"Did I have butterflies? You bet," Breschi said. "I'll never forget the hum of the crowd or the feeling of playing on the same field as the pros."