COLLEGEVILLE, Minn. — Saturday’s 43-21 St. Thomas victory over St. John’s was a perfect Saturday for the annual football rivalry, but law enforcement officials said drunken behavior clouded the day.
Stearns County Sgt. Joe Lichy said that in the 27 years he has worked the Tommie-Johnnie game, this was the rowdiest.
“It’s never been this bad,” Lichy said. “Before the game, a dad had to pick up a St. Thomas female. She blew a 0.35 (on a breathalyzer) and was asked to leave.”
Lichy said that before halftime, they had ticketed seven or eight minors for illegal alcohol, most of them to Tommies. Four more were ticketed at halftime.
“Of the four given at halftime, two went to the hospital,” Lichy said. “We are sending them to the hospital now because detox is full.”
St. Thomas senior Nick Larson said he saw the police in action early in the game, at a scuffle.
“He (a police officer) grabbed her in her upper arm and escorted her out,” Larson said. “There was a Tommie-Johnnie fight at the bottom the stairs.”
Even though a lot of liquid was consumed before the game, much food was eaten once fans arrived. Concession Manager Jeff Mathiasen was prepared for the 14,287 fans who came to Clemens Field Saturday.
“I’ve been doing this for almost 20 years,” Mathiasen said. “I looked back two years ago when I sold. I ordered what I went through that year.”
He expected to sell a few thousand hamburgers and brats, about 2,500 hot dogs and 300 pounds of popcorn.
Mathiasen said he sold all of it except some popcorn.
Barb Platten, a long-time Johnnie fan who attended the game with her 93-year-old mother-in-law, said that she looked forward to the food.
“You have to get a Johnnie hot dog and a Johnnie hamburger with ketchup with onions,”
Many Johnnie students said they ate a big pregame meal.
“I ate breakfast, two hot dogs and some French fries, with some Gatorade,” St. John’s sophomore Brennan Hall said. “We played some darts with a picture of Tommie on the dart hole this morning to to prepare.”
As for school spirit, students on both sides showed their school pride.
“I’m a dinosaur because it represents the fierce competition that is St. Thomas,” St. Thomas senior Abe Jungbauer said. “We are going to tear them apart like a T-Rex tears apart a smaller dinosaur. If a Johnnie comes over here, I’ll probably growl at them.”
Junior Joe Wistrcill decided that body paint was the best way to show his excitement for the game.
“I’m getting my face painted, because my chest is already painted,” Wistrcill said. “I want to be as supportive of my team as possible and get really hyped for the Tommies.”
The Johnnies brought creative spirit too. St. Ben’s senior Beth Grega brought some music to the student section.
“I put on my fake eyelashes, and I brought my boom box because everyone needs to be entertained,” Grega said. “I always put on the face paint.”
Former Tommie quarterback Dakota Tracy said it felt good to be back in the atmosphere he experienced as a player last year.
“I’m excited to watch the guys,” Tracy said. “I miss the game and Saturdays like this.”
Senior Sephen Durked, a member of Caruso’s Crew, said that the atmosphere, the team and coach Caruso make cheering worth it.
“Caruso never wants to make it about him. It’s about the whole team and the guys he is leading,” Durked said. “That’s typical of coach Caruso, he’s a good man and he wants to show how good and hard his guys worked.”
Hannah Anderson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.