The South Side schools will be showcased in the final game of the High School Football Kickoff Classic at Soldier Field. Other games include a noon matchup between St. Rita and St. Patrick and a 3 p.m. game between Mount Carmel and Taft.
Jim Casey, vice president of alumni relations at Brother Rice, expects the biggest crowd of the night to be at the Crusaders and Redhawks game, as the two high schools are separated by just 16 blocks.
"I anticipate a high level of spirit from both sides," said Casey, a 1970 Brother Rice graduate.
The Brother Rice-Marist football rivalry dates back to 1975, according to Casey, who didn't hesitate to point out Brother Rice's initial dominance — winning the first six games of the series.
Since then, both Catholic schools have had a fair amount of streaks and big wins. That said, the series is actually tied at 17-17, according to Patti Arvesen, Marist's director of marketing and communications.
Casey added that the games have been close, too. In terms of total points scored in the series, Brother Rice has a slight edge with 535 to Marist's 509.
"It's just an exciting way to open up your season, that's what struck me," he said.
Aside from the on-field rivalry, Marist and Brother Rice have historically also competed for students on the Southwest Side. Marist, which is coed, has about 1,700 students. An all-boys school, Brother Rice has 760 students with roughly the same amount of young men as Marist, Casey said.
This can set up for fathers who attended Brother Rice with children who chose Marist and vice versa. The rivalry can also divide grade school pals and neighbors along lines that are either maroon and orange or red and white.
"Everybody is interested to see how this plays out," Casey said. "There will be plenty of teasing going on in the parking lot."
The two teams did not play last year. Marist played Mount Carmel at Soldier Field in 2015, and the Redhawks sent 450 students to the game on buses that left from their Mount Greenwood campus, Arvesen said.
Bridget Hopkins, director of student activities at Marist, expects to send at least that many students to the upcoming game.
A pregame party for students with food and games will take place at 3:30 p.m. at Marist. The buses will leave from the school at 5 p.m. to go to Soldier Field. Tickets are $10 for adults and $6 for students and are good for all three games.
For those driving to the game, parking is available on the Waldron Deck for $22. The lot entrance is off the outer drive at 18th Street. The parking lot will close at the end of the game. No tailgating with alcohol will be allowed, per IHSA rules, Casey said.
Kroll’s South Loop at 1736 S. Michigan Ave. will also host a kickoff party from 3:30-5:30 p.m. for Marist alumni 21 and older and their families. The cost is $20 and includes a food-and-drink package.
Brother Rice will not have a pregame party for students or buses. But the Rice fans will gather from 11 a.m.-10 p.m. at Flo & Santos - Pizza & Pierogi at 1310 S. Wabash Ave. in the South Loop.
"You are playing against your neighbors, friends and cousins," said Hopkins, a 2009 Marist grad. "It's going to be a really good turnout."
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