STEVE HANLON: The Bishop Bowl needs to end

2011-08-18T22:00:00Z 2012-08-31T00:25:09Z STEVE HANLON: The Bishop Bowl needs to endBy Steve Hanlon Prep Beat nwitimes.com
August 18, 2011 10:00 pm  • 

I knew it was coming. So did you. Everyone inside the packed gymnasium knew it was just a second away.

The gathering was at Bishop Noll on Feb. 25 as the Warriors' state finalist boys basketball team was cruising to a win over diocese rival Andrean. Then, it happened.

"Let's play football," the 59ers faithful screamed as the seconds ticked down. "Let's play football, ..."

The chant didn't end for awhile. And why would it?

Andrean has won 14 in a row against Noll in football heading into tonight's season opener in Hammond. In Phil Mason's three years at Andrean, his 59ers have outscored the Warriors 181-32 in The Bishop Bowl.

In the 14 wins Andrean has scored 599 points, or a 42.7 game average, while Noll scored 116 points (8.2).

And to be truthful, the scores could've been worse than they were.

The clock is ticking. It reads 11:59. If Noll doesn't narrow the gap on the grid and soon, they should end this rivalry. Or hire more paramedics for the sidelines.

Folks, this is only a football argument. Noll has won the last five in boys hoops. The smaller school has competed in every other sport quite well. Except for -- duck and hide the children -- football.

Noll coach Mike Juscik knew such words were coming, too. Several have suggested to him to end the series. But don't bet on it.

"As long as I'm coaching here I want to play Andrean," Juscik said. "As a coach I've never gone into one game against them not believing we were going to win."

But scores of 50-7, 63-0 and 68-25 over the last three autumns tell a different story. Last year the 'Niners led 61-6 at halftime.

Folks, my opinion is not blasphemy. Bishop Noll started playing football in 1946. Andrean started in 1960. The two programs played their first football game against each other in 1983.

The word on the street is that a former leader in the diocese did not want the two schools to play. Maybe I could run for bishop? I agree with the former church leader on this topic.

Andrean coach Phil Mason doesn't get much out of this rivalry. Especially with a Week 2 matchup against Class 5A power Merrillville. Playing "up" would help a program with "Dome designs" every August.

In 2009, directly after the 63-0 win against Noll, Mason said this about a bad week of practice.

"We don't understand we went against little boys last week, and this week, we're going against grown men," Mason said.

Will Noll's "little boys" step up to the challenge tonight? Can a once-great game return to glory or continue where it's been?

"I've never backed down from a fight and I never will," Juscik said. "And I don't expect my players will either."

Great life lesson. More important than what the scoreboard says. But there's 11:59 left in the final quarter and Andrean leads 14-0. There are other "fights" out there.

If this doesn't change soon, it's time to find another fight.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at steve.hanlon@nwi.com.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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