Friday, October 9, 2009

November 26th Will Be A Sad Day in Northeast Philadelphia

On a crisp late autumn morning, they will be playing a high school football game.  And it will be the end of an era as well.

After eighty-two games, eighty of them on consecutive Thanksgiving mornings at 9:45 AM that Thursday, the last game of an epic local Philadelphia neighborhood rivalry will be contested at Frankford War Memorial Stadium.  It was considered to be the oldest Public High School vs. Parochial High School Football Rivalry in the USA, but now, the closure of Northeast Catholic High School for Boys will make that annual game vs. Frankford High School just a memory.  It will be the last time, barring a trip to the PIAA state playoffs, that North's  football team will take the field, hoping to close out an era that was a success against their neighborhood rival, with a record of 41 wins, 34 losses and four ties. (You did know before overtime was established, games ended in ties, right Donovan F. McNabb?)

Long before desegregation, long before there were no feeder schools, you were either a Frankford Pioneer or a North Catholic Falcon, plain and simple.  You either wore the red, blue and gold of Frankford, or the red and white of North.  Families were divided, neighbors hated each other, think of, say, Auburn-Alabama but on a smaller scale.  With that, and sad as it might seem, I give you the words to North Catholic's Alma Mater in memory of this great rivalry.

See our banner wave proudly before us,
Colors gleaming in hues ever glorious!
Flag of honor, o'er foe victorious,
Led thou on to the triumph we gain...

(CHORUS) Onward, Onward! Behold where dawns the glory!
Hail, alma mater, our North Catholic High!
Sing with joyful heart and voice the story!
Hail, alma mater, our North Catholic High!

May the sunshine of youth never leave thee!
And the shadow of age never grieve thee!
Falcon symbol, we now salute thee!
Sons who love and revere thy fair name...


And Onward, Onward to the future...sadly, without a North Catholic-Frankford game.


  1. Did you graduate from North Catholic? Are you down with this decision?

  2. I went to Frankford for two years before dropping out to another school for my senior year.