Schuckman: QHS, QND need comprehensive plan for all-sports rivalry

Posted: Apr. 27, 2014 12:01 am Updated: Jun. 8, 2014 12:49 am

There has been much debate and considerable consternation over the fact the Quincy High School and Quincy Notre Dame softball teams haven't been able to get on the field against each other.

The teams were scheduled to play April 18 at QHS. It was a date agreed upon several years ago before anyone realized it was Good Friday, and because it is a Holy Day of Obligation in the Roman Catholic Church, QND refrains from playing or practicing on that day in any sport.

The QHS coaches and administrators understood and agreed to change the date, yet nothing has been worked out.

Part of the issue is QHS had only one meeting with its crosstown rival on the schedule, while QND had planned on the traditional home-and-home series. That's a detail that has caused a hiccup in the rescheduling.

So will they play one? Will they play two? Will they play at all?

Right now, the answer to all three questions seems to be no.

Should that stay the case, the real losers in this situation are the players.

They don't get to perform in front of the biggest, most electric crowd they will see all season. They lose the opportunity to play for braggin' rights. They are denied memories that last a lifetime.

Paige Owsley and Aubrey Venvertloh are lucky to have those.

Two years ago, Owsley delivered a bases-clearing double that led the Blue Devils to a 4-3 victory at The Backyard, handing the Lady Raiders just their second loss in 24 games that season.

Last year, in the second meeting on back-to-back days, Venvertloh hit her first career home run in the Lady Raiders' 17-4 victory. QND swept the series, winning the first game 5-4 on Jennie Polak's walk-off single in the seventh inning.

How many other players have similar memories to cherish?

More than you realize.

That's why the Quincy schools should play each other in every sport.

Football could be headed that direction. Conversations between the schools have taken place about playing each fall, although when to start the series seems to one of the hangups.

QND has two openings on its 2014 football schedule and has engaged in conversations with a couple of Chicago Public League schools, although no contracts have been signed. Most contracts call for a two-year series, which would negate playing QHS in 2015.

The Blue Devils have an opening for 2015 and sliding the Raiders into that slot seems like a natural fit. However, to make it happen, one or more things are going to have to fall perfectly into place.

QND has to find 2014 opponents who are willing to commit to a one-year contract. That would create the opening on the 2015 schedule.

Another solution would be for QHS to opt out of a contract for 2014 -- if that is at all possible -- which would create a void QND could fill.

Or at the very least, they agree to play starting in 2016 or later which allows both schools the flexibility to get their schedules in order.

It doesn't matter which scenario works best, as long as one of the scenarios works out.

This community, football fans and the student-athletes deserve it.

The fact remains it's needed in all sports.

So here is a challenge to the administrators from both schools: Make it happen.

Get QHS principal Danielle Edgar and athletic director Bill Sanders sitting on one side of a table, and put QND principal Mark McDowell and athletic director Bill Connell on the other side. Collectively, they can hash out a comprehensive plan for all sports.

No hemming or hawing allowed.

We often hear decisions are made in the best interest of the students. From where I sit, the opportunity to experience an electric atmosphere, share the field with competitors you've known all your life and display school pride is something that would benefit all students, not just the student-athletes.

That makes this an easy decision to get it done, right?


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