Extra Points: Brian Spano 9/29

Brian Spano

By Brian Spano PrepsKC Senior Writer
Posted: September 29, 2011 - 7:43 PM

College football is steeped in tradition. Take for instance the countless trophy games played throughout the season.
There’s the Paul Bunyan trophy between Michigan and Michigan St., the Sportsmanship Trophy traded between Alabama and Auburn, and one we’re quite familiar with in these parts, the Indian War Drum between Missouri and Kansas. Just recently, there was a to-do in the state of Iowa about the redesigned trophy that Iowa and Iowa St. play for each year.
As popular as these trophy games are at the college level, there are some trophy games played throughout the high school ranks that don’t get as much notoriety.
St. Pius and O’Hara squared off in week five for the 11th annual Crystal Cup game. What exactly is the Crystal Cup you ask?
The Crystal Cup is a traveling trophy awarded to the winner of the football game between St. Pius X and O'Hara high schools.
The Cup is made of Irish Crystal and was custom made in Waterford, Ireland specifically for the football contest between the Warriors and Celtics. The Crystal Cup is sponsored by the Ancient Order of Hibernians, Padraig Pearse Division 1 in Kansas City.
“The origin of the Crystal Cup wasn’t a Crystal Cup to start with,” said Michael Murphy, a member of the AOH. “It was a brown jug passed back and forth between Rockhurst and DeLaSalle years and years ago. The Hibernians weren’t the ones doing it. It was a club doing it, and after so many years, it was dropped. Some members from our division that went to both of those schools said we needed to bring this back.”
Since bringing it back 11 years ago, St. Pius has dominated the game, winning eight contests. O’Hara’s 48-17 win on Sept. 23 was its third in the last four games.
“Back in 1968 was our first varsity game against St. Pius, so they’ve always been kind of our rival all the way through,” said O’Hara head coach Jim DeMarea. In the last 10 years, this group of young men came out and said let’s get these schools together. They knew both of us, so, it made this a little rivalry. We got on the radio and started going back and forth, and Pius dominated us for years. They had some great teams.”
To add even more drama to the outcome, this was a West Central Conference game. Both teams had something at stake. But even in years when neither team may have much to play for, there’s still this one game on the schedule to look forward to, if even it’s to claim bragging rights.
“The conference game is a big play in it, and every year you’ve got new guys starting and seniors going away,” Murphy said. “It’s just like Christmas and getting a new car at the age of 16. These kids’ eyes light up like there’s no tomorrow. St. Pius gets so excited, and O’Hara this year because it’s their third win out of 11 years, that’s why they’re so pumped. I almost lost my hearing there for minute they were screaming so loud. It was unbelievable.”