The Bruce Mahoney: the Oldest Rivalry West of the Mississippi

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Photo by Emma Hawk

Each year here at SHC students are given the tremendous opportunity to witness a tradition that goes back 125 years. On Saint Patrick’s Day in 1893, Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory and Saint Ignatius College Preparatory squared off in a rugby match that would produce a rivalry between two high schools across the great city of San Francisco. In 1947, the Bruce Mahoney Trophy was inaugurated in honor of Bill Bruce and Jerry Mahoney, alumni from Saint Ignatius and Sacred Heart Cathedral respectively, who fought and died in World War II. For either school to win the the Bruce Mahoney Trophy, they must win at least two out of three of the games they play: football, basketball, and baseball. This fierce high school rivalry is said to be the oldest West of the Mississippi, and students here at SHC have the great honor and pleasure to witness and participate in the historic competition for the Bruce Mahoney Trophy.

The SHC community prepared for their Football team to kick off the Bruce Mahoney on Saturday, wearing the yearly Bruce Mahoney SHC shirt and, on gameday, the renowned SHC student band Peer Pressure played during lunch. Peer Pressure set the stage for the game, evoking a thrill in SHC students, with their hard-rock music that galvanized the community to support the football team with remarkable passion that Friday night.  All throughout lunch, kids painted their faces and sprayed their hair green, white, and blue in a show of school spirit.

Photo by Emma Hawk

As kickoff neared, all the hype surrounding the game brought great numbers from the SHC community from both students, staff members, alumni, and families and friends of people playing and watching the game. The Sacred Heart crowd, far outmatching that of their rivals, was enthusiastically preparing for kickoff with passionate chants and rallies that would continue throughout the duration of the night.

Photo by Aidan Quigley

As the game started, the SHC defense was the first to put points on the board as middle linebacker Zachary Lealao hit the SI quarterback allowing the ball to be released in the air for cornerback Andres Ruiz to pick up and bring into the end zone. SI struck back on offense a few drives later with a high throw and catch in the end zone. Defense dominated the game throughout the first half and well into the third quarter until, on a 4th and 6 play, SHC quarterback Will Irons rolled right out of pressure to throw a beautiful touch pass to wide receiver Ronan Orford for a 26-yard touchdown play. SI responded with a touchdown in the 4th quarter making the score even at 14. The SHC defense stepped up as SI threatened to score in the middle of the 4th quarter and with around 4 minutes left in the 4th quarter, SHC quarterback Will Irons threw a 35-yard pass to wide receiver Amin Oglesby on 2nd and  7. Amin got injured on the play but made a critical catch to set up the game-winning touchdown throw 14 yards out as wide receiver Aréon Mitchell turned his body and jumped

Photo by Aidan Quigley

over the defender on a fade route in the corner of the end zone to bring in the ball. SI’s offense drove down the field and into the red zone, needing a touchdown to tie the game, but the SHC defense played its part perfectly stopping them to the very last second on the clock and winning the game.

 

Photo by Aidan Quigley

New varsity head coach, Barry McLaughlin or as students know him, Coach Mac, was ecstatic after SHC’s victory, describing breaking St. Ignatius’ six-year winning streak as “surreal”. Getting this success has been a long journey for both the coaching staff and the players. Coach Mac started the season by getting four former SHC players and former players from City College to join the coaching staff, creating an experienced coaching team that was familiar with the football program at SHC. Secondly, Coach Mac, rather than putting complete focus on the Bruce Mahoney, set out to “change the culture” of the football program at SHC, making sure to create “not just a culture of winning but, a team that the student body could get behind”. This meant making sure to “hold the team accountable” for all their actions in the pursuit of success and giving players “more responsibility” within the program.

A few weeks out from the big game, the team’s focus switched to fundamentals and a game plan was set. With the pressure of the game starting to weigh on the players, Coach Mac reminded the team that success would come down to execution and that a win would be possible if the team worked together, did what they were supposed to do, and remembered that the game was just “1/10th of the season”. SHC’s Bruce Mahoney football victory has brought great excitement to the school community as a whole but, as the football season winds down with 5 games left in the regular season, Coach Mac has been determined to keep the team focused and believes that “one game does not define a whole season”. As far as future seasons are concerned, Coach Mac hopes to maintain the resolute spirit of the team and support of the student body. 

Photo by Aidan Quigley

 

The SHC community was so vibrant and enthusiastic during the game. Anyone in the SHC crowd during the game is almost certain to have had hearing problems the next day and, for those who were part of the cheering, a sore throat. Students were decked out in crazy SHC and green outfits with some wearing costumes like a leprechaun, a shamrock suit, and even a green crayon. The faculty and student body are so proud and excited because they know this gives them a great chance to win the Bruce Mahoney Trophy later on. With basketball coming next, the SHC community looks to bring the same amount of enthusiasm and energy into the game so that they can win the Mahoney Trophy and bring it back to SHC were it belongs.