Wally Carew explores the 91-year football rivalry
between Holy Cross and Boston College in his new book, A
Farewell to Glory
By Patrick Maloney '02
November of 1896, two New England Jesuit colleges lined
up on the football field to begin what many consider to
be one of the greatest football rivalries in college football
history. One hundred and seven years later, author Wally
Carew dove into the annals of Holy Cross and Boston College
football record books and captured the excitement of the
longstanding rivalry, as well as the personalities that
made it great.
“This book combined my two great loves
in life,” says
Carew. “They are my love for college football and
my Catholic faith. That’s also what drew me specifically
to this series of games, between two Jesuit schools. I
always wondered who God was rooting for. It was an honor
to write this book. I was just hoping I could perpetuate
the memory of the series.”
Throughout the book, readers are introduced to great
Holy Cross and Boston College players and coaches, along
a summary of many of the 82 games played between the
two football powers. The rivalry gained momentum in its
game when the ending was marred by controversy. During
the hard-fought contest, a scuffle broke out between
the two squads, causing the game to end inconclusively.
teams claimed victory.
By 1924, the rivalry had gained a large base of fans.
That year, a crowd of 50,000 devotees packed into Braves
in Boston to witness the Purple and White steamroll the
Eagles by a score of 33-0, finishing their season 7-1-1.
In addition to chronicling the great games of the past,
Carew examines the two tenures of legendary Crusader
football coach Dr. Eddie Anderson. Anderson not only
the most wins in Holy Cross football history but did
so while practicing medicine. In 1938, Anderson led the
to an 8-1 record and a ninth-place ranking in the nation
with the help of fullback Bill Osmanski ’39. “Bullet
Bill” became an All-American back for the College
and went on to star in the NFL with the Chicago Bears.
He won four world championships during his time in Chicago
and while studying to become a dentist at Northwestern
On Nov. 28, 1942, over 40,000 fans packed Fenway Park
to see the top-ranked BC Eagles, who had outscored their
four opponents 168-6, en route to what was expected to
be their second national championship in three years.
Holy Cross entered the game with a mediocre 4-4-1 record,
erupted for 55 points, led by left halfback Johnny Bezemes ’43,
who scored three touchdowns himself and passed for a fourth.
The Crusader defense smothered the Eagles, and Holy Cross
went on to shock Boston College, and the college football
world, with a 55-12 victory. BC wound up canceling its
victory party scheduled for the Cocoanut Grove nightclub
that night. Tragically, a deadly fire engulfed the club
on that very night, just four hours after the game, killing
492 patrons. The upset of 1942 turned the entire series
upside down, and Holy Cross reeled off four straight wins.
For the next three decades, Holy Cross and Boston College
would engage in some of the greatest games of the rivalry.
In 1951, Boston College returned the favor from 1942,
defeating the heavily favored Crusaders, who were led
by field general
Charlie Maloy ’53. Trailing 14-12, the Eagles connected
on a 55-yard pass and punched in the winning touchdown
with just seconds remaining. Carew picks this game out
as one of his favorite moments of the series.
“It’s hard, though,” says Carew. “There
are so many great moments and so many great names.”
Quarterback Pat McCarthy ’63 ended the Crusaders’ two-game
losing streak against BC in 1960 with a 16-12 Crusader
win. McCarthy passed for 216 yards and two touchdowns while
rushing for 54 yards and another touchdown on his way to
earning the Edward J. O’Melia Trophy for most outstanding
player in the annual HC-BC game. In 1966, Holy Cross quarterback
Jack Lentz ’67 hooked up with Peter Kimener ’67
for a game-winning touchdown grab in the final minute of
play. Following the “miracle” win, the Eagles
rattled off nine consecutive wins, until 1977, when a Crusader
team, with a 1-9 record, entered the contest as a 28-point
underdog, but emerged with a 35-20 upset win. Small but
mighty Purple quarterback Peter Colombo ’79, took
charge of the squad and ran the Crusaders’ option
offense perfectly as Holy Cross racked up 296 yards of
offense on the ground.
BC dominated the series in the 1980s behind stars like
Heisman Trophy winner, Doug Flutie. The rivalry ended
on Nov. 22, 1986 before a crowd of 23,271 at Fitton
Field. The two successful programs battled each other
last time in a quagmire. The Crusaders staked a 14-0
in the first quarter behind All-Americans Jeff Wiley ’89
and Gordie Lockbaum ’88, before succumbing to the
bigger, stronger and faster Eagles club, 56-26.
Although the series has been over for 17 years now,
book is about to go into a second printing.
“I’m just on pins and needles with all the wonderful
reaction to this book,” Carew says. “Writing
is like breathing to me. This has been a dream come true
for me. There has been great interest in the book at both
It’s clear that this volume has brought back many
exciting memories for Holy Cross alumni, as well as sparking
an interest in those who may not know the long and dynamic
history of the Holy Cross-Boston College football rivalry.
Farewell to Glory can be purchased at the Holy
Patrick Maloney '02 is the College's assistant
director of athletic media relations.