TOWSON, Md. — There is nothing quite like the Turkey Bowl... and this year it’s back.
"The excitement for the Turkey Bowl is through the roof. This is the biggest game of the year," said Calvert Hall cornerback Nigel Henderson
The Turkey Bowl returns after the pandemic forced its cancellation in 2020. Calvert Hall takes on rival Loyola on Thanksgiving morning at Unitas Stadium.
"To be a part of a tradition like this, it means a lot," said Henderson. "This has been going on for 101 years. We have alumni that come back, they talk about the importance of this game. It just holds a place in everybody’s heart - to win the Turkey Bowl."
Josh Ward was part of that tradition in the early 2000's as a player for the Cardinals. On Thursday he will roam the sideline in his first Turkey Bowl as Calvert Hall head coach.
"It’s very special. I was hoping to get that last year but I’m ready for it this year and I’m excited to take the field with our guys," he said. "We’re just preaching tradition. Loyola has the series record. It’s 49-43-8. They are still in the lead for the overall record [of the Turkey Bowl]. So, we still have some work to do."
The Cardinals have won the last six Turkey Bowls.
This year’s game will be played as much for those not on the field as for those on it - the seniors from 2020 who didn’t get a chance to play in the game.
"They didn’t get the opportunity their senior year. There is just something about being your last year, it means a lot. So we’re definitely thinking about them all the way," said Henderson.
Calvert Hall (9-2) enters the Turkey Bowl off its biggest win of the season. On Saturday they defeated McDonogh 14-8 to capture their first MIAA ‘A’ Conference championship since 2010. They did it with a fourth-and-one defensive stop at their own 12-yard line with five seconds remaining.
"It feels good. The hard work definitely paid off," said quarterback Noah Brannock. "My heart was pounding on the sideline, I’m sure like a lot of other people’s were. So, once we saw that ball hit the ground we knew we got it."
That heart rate is sure to rise once again this Thanksgiving morning.