Catholic schools meet in final week rivalries; Notre Dame head coach George Oswald hangs up his whistle after 46 years
By Malin Jordan
The B.C. Catholic
VANCOUVER--It's been a long time, but high school football finally returned to Empire Field Nov. 5 when two rivalry games were played under the lights.
In the first game, the St. Thomas More Knights defeated the Holy Cross Crusaders 41-20 in the annual Pepsi Bowl. The score was 13-13 at the half, but the Knights pulled away in the second, putting 14 points on the Crusaders in each of the third and fourth quarters.
In the late game, the Vancouver College Fighting Irish downed the Notre Dame Jugglers 27-6 in the 54th annual Archbishops' Trophy game.
With the win Vancouver College improves to 27-26-1 overall, taking an edge in the series for the first time since 1980.
But the big story line over the course of the night wasn't that the Fighting Irish inched ahead in the series, or that high school football had finally returned to Empire Field. It was that a legend of B.C. high school football was coaching in his last regular season game.
With his family on hand, George Oswald received a framed Juggler jersey before the game in front of a standing ovation from the several hundreds of people in attendance.
The well-respected coach spent his whole career in Juggler colours, first debuting as a player for the squad in the early 1960s, and then moving into coaching after his playing days were over. (Oswald even won the Father Joseph McInerney Trophy for being the best back in the 1964 Archbishops' Trophy game.)
Retiring after the end of this season, Oswald spent 46 years coaching Juggler football. Over that span, he coached the Jugglers to 17 of their 26 Archbishops' Trophy game wins. He also coached Notre Dame to 14 provincial championships, winning eight as a head coach.
Before this year's game the Archbishop of Vancouver J. Michael Miller, CSB, wrote in a letter to all players and coaches, "I wish to recognize Notre Dame's George Oswald on this day, his last Archbishops' Trophy game as head coach.
"He has shown outstanding leadership and example on the football field to the hundreds of young men that he has coached during his tenure from 1977 until now.
"I trust that they will find the opportunity to thank him for lessons taught on the field and off. `Well done, good and faithful servant.'"