Sat. Mar 25th, 2023

On Saturday, November 6th – Notre Dame’s new Juggler Field hosted its first-ever Archbishop’s Cup. The yearly Varsity football game matches Notre Dame vs Vancouver College.

By | Observer Staff

A brisk wind chilled the air, and ice-cold rain fell down throughout, but the dimness of the weather could not diminish the excitement at Notre Dame. Looking around Juggler Field on Saturday, from kickoff to the nail-biting ending of the 65th Archbishop cup between the No. 2 Notre Dame Jugglers and No. 1 Vancouver College Fighting Irish, it was obvious that everyone in attendance was watching one of the biggest games in high school football in recent memory. 

It was as if the field itself was radiating energy, and telling all those involved, whether watching, playing, coaching, or perhaps just walking by “this is going to be a special game.” It was poetic, the number one and two ranked teams battling it out in the harsh conditions, not only for the coveted bye week given to the number one team but more importantly, the Archbishop trophy that is given to the winner. However, to really understand the importance of this game, one must look back on the history of these two teams.

Some of the history was evident in the pre-game ceremonies where past Jugglers and ND builders were presented with Notre Dame letterman jackets.

Richard Scott, Pat Waslen, Al Blesch, Rob DeLazzari, Bill McCarthy, Denis Kelly and George Oswald

The Notre Dame Jugglers, and the Vancouver College Fighting Irish will forever and always be connected by a rivalry that spans generations. It is a cross-town battle straight out of the movies. East Vancouver versus West Vancouver, and the animus has been building as the two schools haven’t faced off against each other in over two years.

Vancouver College and Notre Dame had very different paths in 2019. The Fighting Irish had one of the most memorable seasons in that school’s history, as they were able to capture the AAA Provincial Championship. The Jugglers, who only had two wins in the regular season, were able to pull off upset after upset, and eventually make the semi-finals game, where they lost to Lord Tweedsmuir.

Throughout the 2021 season, Vancouver College has continued its dominance from 2019 and maintained its initial No. 1 ranking.

Notre Dame, on the other hand, has set a new standard for the school. After barely being ranked in the top five in preseason polls, the Jugglers have risen to the No. 2 team in BC. Anyone in the small East Vancouver school can tell you just how special this team is, and how throughout the season, they have all come together as not just teammates, but also brothers.

The Juggler Captains make their way to mid-field for the coin toss.

One thing that has been a pleasant surprise this year is the ND defence. Led by second-year DC Jordan Liberman and key senior conference all-stars Massimo Ryan, Aiden Thomas, Luca Pante, and Pedro Cabanas, the Jugglers defence has been a dominant force all season.

This was one of the most anticipated matchups in recent years. The game was everything that was expected, a majestic battle of the top two teams AAA in the Province.

Unfortunately for the Jugglers, it was the Irish who were able to seal a 9-6 victory, clinching the game with an interception late in the fourth quarter.

Without question, the 65th Archbishop cup lived up to all the hype and set new expectations for both teams as the rivalry forges forward in the years to come.

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