BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — It’s Canisius vs. St. Joes. The Crusaders vs. the Marauders. It’s one of the oldest rivalries in Western New York, and it’s a little earlier on the schedule this year. It’s the home opener for Canisius, and they’re looking for their first win of the season. The Marauders, on the other hand, are looking for their first win in this rivalry since 2011.
“We’re excited, anytime we can beat our rival it’s great, but when it’s your first home game in front of everybody, it’s going to be even better,” Canisius senior Nigel Dabney said. “Two losses hurt this team, you practice so hard, work so hard, play so hard and you come out with a loss it’s tough, so to come out with a win we’re going to be very excited.”
“I mean obviously, with the narrative this is a little bit more higher, but in terms of how we play, this doesn’t change anything. We play the same, we get stronger, we play faster every week, so it doesn’t change how we play but from a narrative standpoint, it is a little more intense but it doesn’t change how we play,” St. Joe’s senior Jason Walker said.
“It’s great playing out of state but this is still the biggest game of the year,” Canisius head coach Rich Robbins said, “Any time you play St. Joe’s, whether it’s soccer, volleyball, basketball, football, it’s a big deal.”
“It’s a big deal for our kids, the student body, our alumni base, so we certainly understand the stakes on Saturday. We’re really excited to have it back at our home field. We’ve been at the Bills Stadium for the last couple of years, but when you bring it back in a high school stadium it really feels crowded and it’s a really cool experience for the kids.”
“There’s a lot of tradition in this game,” St. Joe’s senior Micah Brown said. “A lot of tradition that was instilled in us as freshmen, and we finally are seniors now and we get to instill in these freshmen that just came here. By us just coming together and knowing what it really means we’re just going to do it.”
“Do everything we have for the people that came before us.”
“We all know they’re going to give us their best shot because we’re Canisius, but we’re ready for it,” Canisius senior Eric Kegler said.
“It goes back a long time, before all of us, and it’s a special thing. The schools all get into it, the community gets into it, and it means a lot, to both schools,” St. Joe’s head coach Derek Landri said.
“It’s good, it’s good for the sport. It’s good for these boys to have that type of competition type of thing growing up to where you have something to look forward to, goals to set, and it gets a little bit more out of everybody than just your normal week to week game.”
“It’s extremely exciting, it’s all of our first times playing in a home atmosphere for the St. Joe’s Canisius rivalry game, and I can say, we’ve been excited all week, we’ve been looking forward to this for a long time.”
Canisius hosts St. Joe’s on Saturday at the Stransky Memorial Complex at 1 pm.