Monday, Sept. 14, was the spark of the long held rivalry between two schools in the Erie area. The famous Prep vs. McDowell week began. Every year at this time whispers in the hallways of both schools about “the school in Millcreek” or “the school downtown” start to heat up. Students, teachers, parents and alumni all begin to feel the incredible hype that eventually leads up to the big day. Tonight, under the lights, the Cathedral Prep Ramblers football team will take on the McDowell Trojans.
This rivalry game is one of the biggest games of the year, and it’s an even bigger game for the senior players. When asked how the team is preparing for their showdown with McDowell, Prep senior linebackers, Alex Comi and Joe Redinger said, “We are trying to stay focused and pay more attention to detail. We’ve watched a lot of film.” Fans will see how the teams’ rigorous training pays off tonight beginning at 7 p.m. Last year’s score between the two teams was 24-10 in favor of Prep.
Besides the annual football game, there is another tradition that Prep students, teachers, and alumni know well. That tradition, of course, is the legendary Prep rally held in school game day. Every year, on the Friday of the rivalry game against McDowell, the Cathedral Prep Rally Crew gives it their all. In years past Prep has had a motorcycle driving through the hallways, a shirtless Coach Mischler leading the cheers, and the beloved Mr. Achille faking his own death only to rise from the coffin to lead students in the traditional P-R-E-P cheer.
Senior and member of the rally crew Jack Zaphiris said, “We have a lot of good guys this year. We’ve put a lot of work in, and we’ll see how it pays off [today].” Rally crew captain Connor Robbins added, “It’s fantastic to be able to lead these guys, yet it’s difficult to keep everyone together and focused. This group of guys blows previous years out of the water.”
Previous rally crews featured good bits, such as “The Italian Boys” and “What’s in your teacher’s desk?” so the 2015-2016 group has their work cut out for them if they wish to be among the elite crews in Cathedral Prep history. The rally today will mark the first rally that the freshmen class will see. “I’ve heard a lot about the rallies,” said freshman Jarrett Ziacik. “I hope they live up to their reputation.”
Prep vs. McDowell week is an important week in Erie as even people with no affiliation to either school start to get excited for the big game. It’s an even more important week in the hallways of both schools. Both schools prepare for their respective rallies, and the students get more and more pumped up each day. This is the last time for the senior classes from both schools to see and cheer at a Prep vs. McDowell football game. Another chapter in this storied rivalry will be written tonight.