In a second Battle of Champions this season, Archbishop Curley’s football team will host Fort Hill on Thursday, Oct. 1 at 7 p.m. for the first time. Next year, the Friars will travel to Cumberland to play the Sentinels.
Curley won the MIAA B Conference last season and Fort Hill is the two-time defending Class 1A state champion. Earlier this fall, MIAA A Conference champion McDonogh defeated two-time defending Class 3A state champion Franklin.
Friars coach Sean Murphy said Fort Hill coach Todd Appel approached him about playing the Sentinels. Appel had to drop a non-sanctioned opponent and the Friars had a bye that week, so Murphy was happy to add the game against a member of his Big 33 coaching staff last summer.
“Win or lose, it’s cool to play a big game like that and expose our kids to a big crowd,” said Murphy, adding that Fort Hill will bring its band and its radio broadcast team. “I just wish we were 3-0 instead of 1-2, because I think that would have drawn even more people.”
Murphy had hoped that the Friars would continue their 11-game winning streak, which had been the longest in the Baltimore area, and that the Sentinels would continue their 29-game winning streak, which had been the longest in Maryland. However, both streaks ended on the same day when Curley fell to Loyola, 33-32, and Fort Hill fell to Keyser, W.Va., 48-41, on Sept 11.
Still, the Friars staff is preparing for a big turnout.
"It’s a great opportunity for our kids to play against a team with a great tradition and rich history,” Murphy said of Fort Hill (2-1), which has been to the state tournament more than any other program with four state championships and six other trips to the title game.
“Not being a public school our kids don’t know as much about them as I do and our coaches do,” he said. “In the public schools, everybody knows who Fort Hill is, so we’ve been trying to at least give them some things to do a little bit of research on them and obviously we’ll play it up as we get ready for the week.”
Murphy said the game is being played on Thursday, because, with a bye week scheduled, he had already made plans for the weekend.