Catholic Sentinel photos by Ed LangloisJesuit and Central Catholic cheerleaders meet for a halftime chat.
Catholic Sentinel photos by Ed Langlois
Jesuit and Central Catholic cheerleaders meet for a halftime chat.
HILLSBORO — With stony defense, a smaller Central Catholic football team managed an upset of a larger Jesuit High team in an annual game dubbed "The Holy War."

A crowd packed the grandstand at Hillsboro stadium Sept. 21 and made noise as the Rams came back from a 7-0 deficit to carry the evening 16-7. It was the first time Central Catholic has won the contest in eight years.

"What's good about this game is that the Catholics always win," joked Aron Homberg, standing on the sidelines as Central Catholic's dean of students.

Don Clarke, campus minister at Jesuit, stood on the opposite end of the grandstand. Clarke recalled stories he's heard from the early days of the rivalry. At the first game in the late 1950s, some wags from Jesuit put something like this on a sign: "All Catholics are equal in my eyes. — God, SJ."

The Holy War, more a festival than a war, is a Catholic cultural event as well as a game. In the stands on Friday, friends who attend opposing schools razzed each other. Some Jesuit students were brave enough to sit in the Central Catholic section.

Both teams went in together to collect funds for the families of slain soldiers.

Cheerleaders from both sides met for a moment to chat. The night was mostly friendly, except for one scuffle on the sideline, when a Central Catholic player crashed into a Jesuit coach — and maybe was shoved.

Jesuit priests and diocesan clergy have been known to post friendly wagers.  

The Rams were 1-2 going in to the game and the Crusaders top-ranked and undefeated.