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If blue is your colour and football is your game, the University of Toronto’s Varsity Stadium should have been your destination on Oct. 23.
The Upper Canada College Blues squared off against the St. Michael’s College School Kerry Blues at the home of U of T’s Varsity Blues in the inaugural “Battle of the Blues” varsity football showdown, and UCC emerged with a 35-17 victory.
“One major turning point was scoring just before the end of the first half to make the score 17-14 for SMC,” says UCC head coach Dave Brown.
“This narrowed the gap and gave us momentum going into the half. We scored quickly in the second half and kept the lead the rest of the game.”
While the players and coaches for both teams put a lot of effort into preparing to play this “Friday Night Lights” game in front of about 750 supporters from both schools, a lot of behind-the-scenes work went into making it happen in the first place.
“The game was initiated by St. Mike’s, although we both met with representatives from U of T starting last June,” says UCC athletic director Brent MacKay. “It took about half-a-dozen meetings to iron things out.”
MacKay adds that the two schools tried to initiate a contest to see which one could sell the most tickets, which went for five dollars to students and $10 for everyone else, but it never got much traction.
“I am hoping that this becomes an annual event between two historically rival boys’ schools that are only blocks apart and share in the love of football,” says MacKay.
St. Mike’s athletic director Chris De Piero shares the view of his counterpart.
“Both schools have a long and storied history of athletic and academic excellence and we hope this event grows to become part of the football landscape in Toronto,” he says.
The two teams will meet again at UCC at 1 p.m. on Oct. 31 in what will be the final regular season game for both of them in the Conference of Independent Schools of Ontario Athletic Association. UCC sits in third place in the four-team conference with a record of two wins and three losses. St. Mike’s is winless after five games.
The Blues took on the St. Andrew’s College Saints in an away semi-final game on Nov. 4 and emerged victorious with a score of 28-9. It was 12-9 in the third quarter for UCC, with SAC getting a first and goal on UCC’s four-yard line. The Blues stopped them on all three downs to force a turnover. The offence, led by Aidan Power, then stepped up to the challenge and went 108 yards to score and go up 19-9, which effectively ended any hope of a comeback.
They’ll head to the finals against Trinity College School Tuesday, Nov. 10.