History, origins of St. Pius rivalry

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816_kubiak1978By Andrew McCulloch

Eagle Editorial Board

Tradition. History. Excellence.

All perfect characterizations of the St. Thomas and St. Pius football programs.

Together, these schools have formed one of the most historic, tradition-rich rivalries in the Houston area and the entire state of Texas.

Beginning in 1958, it is the oldest series between private schools in the city of Houston. In fact, the first time the Eagles and Panthers squared off on the field, St. Thomas’ arch rival, Strake Jesuit, did not even exist.

But what really makes the St. Thomas-St. Pius rivalry so prominent and significance is the winning tradition shared by both teams. The schools have combined to win 29 state championships and nine out of the last ten district titles, truly epitomizing greatness.

Read a related story – “St. Pius rivalry: significance today”

And with the Eagles leading the all-time series 20-16, the rivalry has managed to stay relatively competitive and intense over time.

However, the rivalry has really begun to pick up steam in the past couple of years.

The Eagles own a 3-2 split in the last five meetings, all coming down to the wire. The last meeting between these two titans was tabbed the High School Football Game of the Week by ABC 13, beating out several larger public school match-ups in a fan vote. And after their thrilling triumph over the Panthers, the St. Thomas squad was named the Team of the Week by Channel 57 the KUBE.

The success of these two bitter rivals share can be found at the next level as well. Both schools have churned out collegiate talent for years and having been sending multitudes of players on to play major college football.

In recent years St. Thomas has seen a resurrection of its football program and has sent stars like Parker White (’13), Peter Foreman (’12) and Derek Martin (’12) to major college programs Miami (OH), New Mexico State and division three powerhouse Mount Union, respectively.

St. Pius has had tremendous success of their own in recent years, producing star college athletes such as Clemson linebacker Kellen Jones, TCU safety Kolby Griffin, Texas kicker Anthony Fera and Northwestern All-America running back Venric Mark.

The rivalry envelops a passion all its own and White sums it up best.

“Playing St. Pius has always been so much more than just another win or loss. To me, a win showed the superiority of the entire school,” White said.

“We never wanted to win a close game by a couple points; we wanted to beat the hell out of the Panthers.”

Click here to see the opposing article.

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