September 12, 2022 | Patrick Steenberge, founder and president of Global Football | firstname.lastname@example.org and 817.219.7274
The second edition of the Catholic Bowl attracted six prestigious high schools represented by their dedicated football teams, ardent supporters and followers. When the dust settled just before midnight Saturday, September 10 in the Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas, a weekend full of action and gratitude had connected over 400 student-athletes and coaches.
Nolan Catholic Head Coach KJ Williams expressed his thoughts while watching his Vikings team warmup on the Dallas Cowboys turf prior to their game: “I am just feeling so blessed to be here, to lead these boys, to have my young son on the sideline, to be a part of this experience that is proving so impactful for each of us.”
The tripleheader games provided plenty of dynamic football action Saturday, with the first two games’ broadcasts reaching 80% of the country on Bally’s Sports affiliates, and the dramatic final game streamed globally on REELZEAL.org. The contests provided plenty of drama, fireworks and gutty performances among the high schools located in five different Catholic dioceses across Texas and Louisiana: Fort Worth, Dallas, Houston, Victoria, Texas. and Lafayette, Louisiana.
In the opener, an undersized St. Edmond squad, supported by a boisterous fan base from Eunice, Louisiana and led by Coach James Shiver pulled away in the second half to defeat Plano John Paul II 40-14. The postgame locker room celebration of the Blue Jays was one of the more passionate moments I have witnessed in recent years. The young men openly expressed raw emotion as closely-linked teammates had just achieved a goal many outside the program thought could not be accomplished.
The middle game between two traditional TAPPS powerhouses, host Nolan Catholic and Houston’s St. Thomas, provided plenty of offensive thrills and key defensive stops with 48 minutes of non-stop football action. St. Thomas running back Johann Cardenas and quarterback Donte Lewis were nearly unstoppable. On defense, linebacker Jack Ward and defensive tackle Tyler Langin each forced turnovers to stop Nolan drives and retain
momentum. The Eagles ultimately prevailed 45-28.
The finale was a much-anticipated return matchup of last year’s TAPPS 2A state championship game. On
this historic night, Muenster Sacred Heart battled from the opening kickoff, believing this would
be their time, emboldened by their crowd and cheerleaders who rocked Ford Center. The coaches led their young men, punching and counter-punching for four quarters. Sacred Heart running back/defensive back Ryan
Swirczysnki seemed to be everywhere, making tackles, gaining hard-fought yardage and inspiring his fellow players. Sacred Heart made critical 4th period stops each time reigning champion St. Paul’s was about to get rolling. The final score ended up 30-20 in favor of Muenster as this rivalry continued.
A signature moment which demonstrated the larger mission of the Catholic Bowl II occurred postgame after the teams shook hands midfield. St. Paul’s head coach Jake Wachsmuth called out to all players and coaches, half of them elated by the victory, half of them feeling downtrodden.
“Let’s all pray together!”
That statement was the perfect ending to what began Friday evening with all players, coaches, school administrators and event sponsors bowing heads together during Mass at St. Martin de Porres, celebrated by Fort Worth Bishop Michael Olson and Dallas Auxiliary Bishop Greg Kelly. The Knights of Columbus hosted a Fellowship Bar BBQ dinner on campus, allowing all to relax, enjoy and prepare for Saturday’s football. A huge ‘thank you’ to the Advancement Development Foundation, Diocese of Fort Worth along with the Catholic Diocese of Dallas and other sponsors for their leadership and support.