East Tennessee’s two Catholic football teams kick off their seasons tonight in Chattanooga when Notre Dame hosts Knoxville Catholic in the second annual Irish Bowl.
The game kicks off at 7:30 p.m.
Bishop Richard F. Stika and Sister Mary Marta Abbott, RSM, superintendent of Catholic Schools, will be at the game to present the trophy to the winning team.
Cardinal Justin Rigali also will be in attendance.
Notre Dame and Knoxville Catholic have played each other at various times in past years, but the decision to create an annual season-opening game is relatively new.
“Bishop Stika and I talked about this a while back,” said Sister Mary Marta. “Part of the reason for this game is to try to unify us as a diocese. It’s also a way to celebrate good and healthy athletic competition.”
“We hope the kids get to know each other and in the process the Bishop and I both feel this is a great way to strengthen our community,” she added.
Knoxville Catholic won last year’s game 22-13.
“We are excited to host this year’s game,” said George Valadie, president of Notre Dame High School. “Last year was a good start and we hope to even the series with a win tonight and keep the trophy in Chattanooga.”
Knoxville Catholic principal Dickie Sompayrac played for Notre Dame while attending high school there.