When Loyola's senior starting quarterback Jeffrey Snider broke the thumb on his throwing hand during a mid-September practice, only one thought ran through his mind.
"As soon as I got hurt the first thing I thought of was getting back to play this game," he said.
Good for him his doctor was on-board.
"He was like 'We got to get you back to the Turkey Bowl'," added Snider. "So, my mind's been on this game for a while and I'm excited to play."
So are the rest of the Dons.
"You walk out and you can smell the funnel cake, the hot dogs. You hear everybody yelling and screaming. It's just something crazy," said Loyola linebacker Mason Rush.
It's Loyola and rival Calvert Hall in the 99th Turkey Bowl.
"It's a great sense of community that you feel and you can see when there's a whole bunch of people in the stands," said Snider.
The Dons (6-3) enter the game against the Cardinals (11-1) as the heavy underdog. But one of the things going for them is that they're rested and healthy. They haven't played since a 41-0 win over Capital Christian Academy on Nov. 9. Calvert Hall just beat Spalding 35-21 on Saturday.
It could be a factor, or not.
"They're incredibly deep, so I'm not that worried about how that will affect them because I think they've got the numbers to endure," said Loyola Head Coach Anthony Zehyoue.
The Dons are riding a three-game win streak. A fourth straight victory would give them their first Turkey Bowl title since 2013.
The key to ending the drought?
"We, as a group, have to play as a team. We got to tackle together. We got to make sure we stay on our blocks, keep the penalties to a minimum. And when we have our opportunities we got to cash in," said Zehyoue.
"If we play focused, we play our game and we execute well I think we'll have success in this game," said Snider.
"We feel confident. We think that a lot of people around don't expect us to come in and really do anything, considering Calvert Hall only has one loss," said Rush. "But I don't think they're ready for what we're going to bring to them."
Loyola kicks off with Calvert Hall in the 99th Turkey Bowl on Thanksgiving morning at 10:00 a.m.
You can watch it live on WMAR-2 and stream it online at wmar2news.com/live .