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Father to son

First in a series of occasional articles on the area's top high school rivalries.

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."

Fame is fleeting, as Breschi quickly learned.

"Everything went by so fast. It reminded me of my wedding day."

Note to those playing tomorrow: savor the experience, said Mike Creaney, Loyola star of the 1960s.

"Breathe deeply, take great big gulps and enjoy the opportunity to write a little history," Creaney said. "The vast majority of these kids will never be on a football field again. And this kind of rivalry evokes a level of passion, commitment and focus that is unrivaled in sport. How thrilling can that be?"

Nearly 40 years later, Creaney, who played tackle, can still tick off the names of every offensive player on the 1968 Loyola team that defeated Calvert Hall, 20-15.

"What I remember is the overwhelming sense of relief of winning after having lost to [the Cardinals] for two years," he said. "That meant I had bragging rights in my neighborhood [Cromwell Valley], which was close to Calvert Hall."

Creaney went on to become an Academic All-America tight end at Notre Dame. He was on the Irish team that upset Texas in the 1971 Cotton Bowl. He was photographed carrying jubilant coach Ara Parseghian off the field.

Yet Creaney, 56, seems just as proud that his two sons helped Loyola win all six of its games against Calvert Hall.

"The kids are grown," said Creaney, a developer from Parkville. "But I'll go watch Loyola play Calvert Hall for the rest of my life."

For seven years, Wayne Mulligan played center in the NFL. But even now, at 60, the one-time Calvert Hall star gets jazzed reminiscing about the hoopla surrounding his school's 36-0 victory over Loyola in 1964.

Then a senior, Mulligan recalls dressing in the locker room at Memorial Stadium as members of the Colts hustled in and out.

"Unbelievable," Mulligan said. "You saw John Unitas and Ordell Braase and Don Shinnick. You said 'Hi,' shook their hands and stood there in awe.

"Even now, I get goosebumps just thinking about it."

Mulligan went on to play at Clemson, then spent five seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals and two more with the New York Jets. He made his first NFL start against the Colts in Memorial Stadium in 1970.

"I remember getting a special introduction from the PA announcer," he said of that game. "That was meaningful, but no more so than running out on that same field as a high school senior.

"In its own way, Calvert Hall--Loyola is as exciting as any rivalry on any level."

mike.klingaman@baltsun.comSun reporter Pat O'Malley and Sun researcher Paul McCardell contributed to this article.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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