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Major battles from the St. Joe's-Canisius rivalry war

Thanks to painstaking research by Canisius assistant coach/media relations wunderkind Bryce Hopkins, here is some more information on late-season games in the St. Joe's-Canisius football rivalry in which the teams' records are similar to this year's (Canisius is 8-0 and St. Joe's is 7-1).

I wrote about this year's rivalry game my weekly Prep Talk column

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1980 -- Week Seven

* Canisius entered the game 6-0. St. Joe’s was also 6-0.

* It was St. Joe’s legendary coach Tom "Tucker" Reddington’s final season, and therefore his last Canisius game.

* St. Joe’s had been a defensive wall through the season, having allowed only 11 total points (6 to Turner in Week 2 and 5 to Grand Island in Week 6). They had shut out 4 of their first 6 opponents (Niagara Falls 20-0 in Week 1, St. Francis 3-0 in Week 3, Niagara Catholic 27-0 in Week 4, and St. Mary’s of Lancaster 31-0 in Week 5).

* Canisius had also put together strong defensive performances, but was more noted for their offense (Niagara Catholic 25-6 in Week 1, McQuaid 21-6 in Week 2, Nichols 34-0 in Week 3, St. Mary’s 34-12 in Week 4, St. Francis 27-6 in Week 5, and Timon 12-9 in Week 6).

* Canisius would win the game in resounding fashion 42-8.

* Interestingly enough, Canisius would then lose the next week to O’Hara 19-16 but would finish 7-1 on the year; O’Hara went 9-0 that year.

* After starting the year undefeated, St. Joe’s would lose the Canisius game as well as its next and last two, falling to Timon 24-6 and O’Hara 28-0.

1973 –- Week Seven

* Canisius entered the game 5-0. St. Joe’s was 6-0.

* The game was Richard “Bus” Werder’s first CHS/Joes game as varsity head coach. Werder had been a longtime JV coach and assistant to the legendary Johnny Barnes. Barnes had retired after the 1972 season.

* Both teams again were offensive and defensive juggernauts. Canisius had scored 163 points leading up to the game and only allowed 42. Likewise, St. Joe’s had scored 175 points and only allowed 33.

* Canisius would win in convincing fashion 36-12.

* Canisius would win is last two games on the year to finish 8-0. The ’73 season was also part of the 42-0-1 unbeaten streak, the longest in WNY.

* St. Joe’s would win its final game of the season to finish 7-1, it’s only blemish a loss to Canisius.

1972 –- Week Six

* Canisius entered the game 4-0. St. Joe’s was 4-1.

* It would be the final Canisius/Joe’s game for Johnny Barnes.  

* Canisius had beaten Duffy 47-20, Fallon 36-12, Neumann 42-0, and O’Hara 28-22 leading up to the game.

* St. Joe’s had beaten Dougherty 40-12, Timon 12-8, and Duffy 33-0. They lost to Fallon 20-14 in Week 4, but beat Neumann 28-6 in the week before the Canisius game.

* Canisius would win a close one 8-7.

* Both Canisius and St. Joe’s would win out. Canisius would finish undefeated at 8-0. St. Joe’s would finish 6-2.

1968 – Week Eight (final game of season)

* Canisius entered the game 6-1. St. Joe’s was 7-0.

* The expectation heading into the game was that points would be at a premium for the second year in a row.

Canisius had only allowed 12 points total in the year, and they all came in their only loss, a defeat at the hands of Timon 12-0. In their other games, all wins, Canisius would outscore opponents 250-0, shutting everyone else out.

St. Joe’s had also done similarly but with a less explosive offense. They had outscored opponents 88-25, beating Timon 14-13.

* St. Joes was riding a 20-game winning streak, having finished 8-0 the previous year and also counting the five wins from the 1966 season after their last loss.

* It was the second straight year that the season for each team would end with the rivalry game.

* The game lived up to expectations as it was a tight, low-scoring affair. Canisius would win 14-6.

1967 –- Week 8

* Canisius entered the game 7-0. St. Joe’s was also 7-0.

* As was normally the case with Canisius/Joe’s games, the expectation was for a tight defensive battle.

Canisius had only allowed 12 points the whole year; St. Joe’s allowed a few more points with 43 but 18 of those came against Fallon and 13 against Timon, the only two teams to score on Canisius (6 points each).

* The game ended in a shutout, but by St. Joe’s as they won 7-0.

1963 -– Week Eight

* Canisius entered the game 7-0. St. Joe’s was 6-1.

* Both teams liked to score and not allow people to score on them. Canisius had scored 213 points and only allowed 24 points (3 games had been shutouts, the other 4 games each only had 6 points scored on the Crusaders). St. Joe’s had scored 168 points and only allowed 44.

* St. Joe’s had lost 13-0 in Week 1 to Duffy but had thoroughly beaten all other opponents after the early mistake.

* In a thriller, Canisius would edge St. Joe’s 19-18 to end the year unbeaten.

1948 –- Week 7

* Canisius entered the game 4-1. St. Joe’s was 6-0.

* This would be the first game of the rivalry series in 16 years. The series was reinstated with the creation of the Western New York Catholic League.

* Canisius’ only loss happened at the hands of Duffy by a score of 13-2. St. Joe’s, on the other hand, had not only beaten every opponent that year –- they shut them out.

* Canisius would be the first team to score on St. Joe’s as well as the first team to be them, winning 14-9.

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Thanks again to Bryce Hopkins for all of this information. You can follow him and the team on Twitter at @CanisiusHSFB.

---Keith McShea

(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

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About Prep Talk

Keith McShea

Keith McShea

Keith McShea has covered high school sports at The News since his hiring in 1999. The 1995 University at Buffalo graduate and Long Island native (North Babylon Bulldogs) covers — and live blogs — everything from scrimmages to state championships & helps head The News' All-Western New York selections.

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