It hasn’t taken long for the two Class A private schools to develop a healthy rivalry, however.
Another chapter in the burgeoning rivalry takes place on Saturday as Holy Innocents’ plays host to Pace.
The game also has serious state playoff implications, with both Pace and HIES battling for postseason spots in Region 5A.
It will be the fifth meeting between the two teams. Holy Innocents has won three of the first four games — including a 30-7 victory last year.
It’s been a tough season so far for Pace (2-5, 1-2), which lost four games in a row at one point before snapping its losing streak with a 33-14 victory over Strong Rock Christian Oct. 5.
However, the Knights enter the Holy Innocents’ game coming off a 38-14 loss to Landmark Christian last Friday.
Pace coach Matt Hall was unavailable for comment.
Running back Denzel Franklin leads a Pace offensive attack that includes quarterback Kevin Johnson and wide receiver Kameron Uter.
Franklin also leads the way for the Knight defense at safety, while cornerback Tiger Brown and linebacker Osei Avril are among the other key players.
Holy Innocents’ Ryan Livezey said containing Pace’s potent offense is the biggest challenge for the Golden Bear defense.
“Offensively, they are very, very dangerous,” Livezey said. “They’ve got a very, very good quarterback-receiver combination (Johnson, Uter) and a very good tailback (Franklin). He’s one of the best tailbacks in the state in single A football, but he doesn’t get mentioned a lot. They are capable of making the big plays and we have to minimize their big plays as much as we can.”
Now, Hall and his Pace squad are looking forward to renewing a rivalry with Holy Innocents’ that he said has grown considerably since their first game together in 2008.
The same goes for Livezey, who said that the long-time rivalry between the two schools in other sports has carried over to football.
“Pace is definitely a team we have had a rivalry with in fall soccer, basketball and baseball over the years and we have developed a rivalry in football over the last few years as well,” Livezey said. “It’s not necessarily a game we circle on our calendar, but it’s always an important region game for us. Our kids know their kids and that makes it a little more special. Matt Hall has done a tremendous job with that program and his kids are always prepared to play.”