TOWSON, Md. — It’s a tradition every Loyola Blakefield football player lives for: to take the field on Thanksgiving morning in the Turkey Bowl.
"It means everything," said Dons quarterback Marcus Hines. "It’s about all the community and all the culture around everyone. Everyone expects you to play well and you got to go out and show out."
The Dons get their chance when they face rival Calvert Hall Thursday in the 101st Turkey Bowl at Unitas Stadium. The game returns after a year off. It was canceled in 2020 because of the pandemic.
"It’s exciting, very exciting. Our energy is all the way up. [We're] just ready for the game," added Hines.
"Not having it last year - which was really devastating to a lot of these kids, especially our seniors - that was tough," said Loyola head coach Anthony Zehyoue. "That was hard for these guys. So, everybody is excited that it’s back."
Loyola enters the matchup with the record of 8-3 and after their first full season in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association ‘B’ conference. They lost a heartbreaker to Concordia Prep 14-3 last Saturday in the conference title game.
"We don’t dwell on it. But, we don’t forget it," said Loyola defensive end Anto Saka. "We are not going to dwell on the emotions that we felt that day. But, we’re not going to forget how we felt and we’re going to do everything that we can to make sure that we don’t feel that way again. So, that’s what’s really fueling us."
Also fueling Loyola is their streak of six straight Turkey Bowl losses to Calvert Hall. They’ve had enough.
"It’s a big game for us as to we want to break this bad streak that’s plagued us," said Saka.
"I told the seniors yesterday, 'How cool can it be for you to be the first team since 2013 to win a Turkey Bowl?'," said Zehyoue. "We’ve had a good year. We want to end that year with an exclamation point on Thursday morning."
The game will kick off at 10:00 a.m. and air live on WMAR, online at WMAR2News.com/Live and on all of your streaming devices.
Follow Shawn Stepner on Twitter @StepnerWMAR and Facebook