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Great day for school

September 09, 2002|by BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

FREDERICK, Md. - St. John's at Prospect Hall is a school with a history.

But for 172 years, the private school in Frederick only worked on six-day weeks. It didn't have any "Friday night" history to speak of.

Until now. With as much school spirit and pageantry as one school can have in trying to celebrate something it never experienced before, the Vikings stuck a toe in the icy waters of high school football ... and then dived in in cannonball fashion to cause some real waves.

St. John's at Prospect Hall went against all logic and challenged an established Bishop Walsh program in it's debut to "Friday Night Lights" .... and won.

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"I'd like to welcome you on this historic day at St. John's at Prospect Hall," said school headmaster Richard Fairley in pregame festivities. "That's saying something ... a first at a school that has been in existence for 172 years, but that's what we have here."

But what they were celebrating, not many were sure.

The fun of football was there, but there was a question of whether football would be fun for the Vikings in their first outing.

"We weren't sure what to expect," St. John's coach John Ricca said. "It has been fun. You tell these kids things and they absorb everything.

"I was impressed with the way they executed. I know I had butterflies, and I have been doing this for a long time. You know they probably had them, too."

It didn't show. This starting a football program is easy ... or so you would think.

Still, there was drama as the game started.

After the opening kickoff, the ball was placed on the Bishop Walsh 28. The public address announcer said "Let the football era at St. John's at Prospect Hall begin."

On the second play, Guyvans Richard intercepted a pass.

Then, Brandon Monroe, the only St. John's player with varsity experience, scored on the Vikings' first two plays to get the fans excited.

By the end of the game, excitement was on high.

About the only thing the Vikings didn't execute on was hitting Ricca with the water cooler bath after the final gun.

The players ran smacking pads like proud rams, enjoying their victory ... which was easy, since they have never tasted defeat.

"I told everyone when I got here that we would score a lot of points," Ricca said. "I just didn't know if it would be more than the other teams. We are going to get better."

History was made ... and boy, was it fun.

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