By JOHN LIKANJE
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – The Aquinas L’il Irish and McQuaid Jesuit Knights will face off Saturday, September 7th at 1:00 p.m. in the Frontier Field Kickoff Classic. It will be the first football game ever hosted in the home of the Rochester Red Wings.
“I first got the idea when I went to see Notre Dame play Boston College at Fenway Park,” Red Wings general manager Dan Mason said during a press conference Friday afternoon at Frontier Field. “As I sat in the seats in Fenway Park, I couldn’t stop thinking about ‘We got to do this at Frontier Field.’ I couldn’t get Notre Dame, so the next best thing was McQuaid and Aquinas.”
Gates will open to the public at noon. General admission tickets are six dollars each along with suite options such as the Silver Stadium Club and Club 3000.
“As Rochester’s only all-boys Catholic Jesuit college preparatory school for young men in grades 6-12, we are committed to providing outstanding experiences for our entire community,” Knights athletic director Matt Thomas said.
Captains from both teams were present at the press conference and expressed their excitement to participate in this historical event as part of a storied rivalry.
“I think this is going to be pretty unique,” L’il Irish junior quarterback Tyler Szalkowski said. “First game of the season, so there’s going to be a lot of hype and we’re just excited to get out there and play.”
“I’m sure many of us have come here when we were younger to watch professional athletes play,” Knights senior wide receiver Casey Howlett said. “This experience, especially when we’re playing against our biggest rival, just makes it that much better.”
Aquinas is the reigning New York State class AA champion and has won five sectional titles in the last seven years. McQuaid finished the 2018 season with an 8-2 record and a Rochester City Athletic Conference (RCAC) title. The L’il Irish rallied in the fourth quarter to defeat the Knights in last year’s regular season matchup before exploding for 49 points in the sectional final.
The announcement came somewhat late — eight days before the game — because Frontier Field would not have been available had the Red Wings earned a playoff berth. The Wings were eliminated earlier this week.
The Wings are able to host a football game because damage to the field won’t matter: the field is being replaced in the off-season.