Akron, OH --
Rivalries fuel competitiveness on the field and bring out the best in every player. With an aggressive 87 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, St. Vincent St. Mary quarterback Dom Davis was named the game’s Most Valuable Player. He was four of 17 through the air, for 71 yards and a touchdown. The excitement leading to this stellar performance was not strictly on the field but also in the stands.
U.S. Marines got the crowd pumped up during the St. Vincent St. Mary versus Archbishop Hoban football game held at the University of Akron’s InfoCision Stadium, Sept. 26.
The game was part of iHigh’s Great American Rivalry Series, which is a partnership that the Marines have been involved in for a year. The series was created to put a spotlight on high school football games around the country that feature long-standing rivalries in the communities.
This year’s installment did not disappoint, as the game-long nail-biter took three overtime periods to find a winner. The Irish of St. Vincent St. Mary outlasted the strong showing from the Knights of Archbishop Hoban with a score of 33-27.
The Marines of Recruiting Sub Station Akron helped get the evening’s festivities going, taking part in the coin flip and then presenting Scholar Athlete Awards to outstanding players on both teams.
Awards were presented to Jeremy Swords of St. Vincent St. Mary and Kevin O’Neil of Archbishop Hoban.
“It was nice to be involved with the coin flip before the start of the game,” said Sgt. Ryan Johnson, a canvassing recruiter from RSS Akron and native of Gary, Indiana. “Even better was the opportunity to present these kids with the scholar [athlete] award. It’s important to recognize the things they’re doing in the classroom and not just on the field.”
To help drive the competitive spirit of those attending the game, the Marines had the pull-up bar on hand to challenge supporters from both schools.
“As simple as it is, the pull-up bar always draws a crowd wherever we go,” said Sgt. David Belcher, canvassing recruiter from RSS Akron and native of Valley Springs, California. “A lot of kids were talking junk to each other about which school was going to win. We encouraged them to show that spirit and support in the name of their team.”
Attendees of the game had the opportunity to perform pull-ups for the usual prizes, but the number of repetitions completed were compiled through halftime. The numbers went back and forth for the better part of the first half, but during halftime, Archbishop Hoban pulled away and never looked back. The Knights amassed a total 568 pull-ups to the Irish’s 429. The Hoban cheerleading squad was presented with the Pull-up Challenge Spirit Award during third quarter action.
The Marines also took part in presenting Rivalry Hall of Fame Awards to Tyrell Sutton of Archbishop Hoban and Carnell Evans of St. Vincent St. Mary.
“There is a reason why the Marine Corps has partnered with iHigh for these games,” explained Belcher. “It gives us a chance to really be a part of our communities under the Friday night lights. We’re able to share the opportunities that the Marine Corps has to offer with interested students, and not to mention get to watch a great rivalry football game.”