While Tampa Catholic began educating in 1962, Jesuit has been teaching for much longer, since 1899
While Tampa Catholic began educating in 1962, Jesuit has been teaching for much longer, since 1899
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The epitome of highschool rivalry: the Jesuit Tigers and Tampa Catholic Crusaders

Each year, high school students attending Jesuit and Tampa Catholic (TC) diligently prepare to defeat their long-standing rival in whichever sport is in season. This rivalry is the most intense in the Tampa Bay area, unleashing blood, sweat, and tears onto the field and court. It is without a doubt that the Blue Tide student body and the Green Locos are nothing short of enemies, as they do anything in their power to prove their own school’s superiority. 

Emilia Scicchitano (‘27) quotes, “I felt so much tension on the court while we were cheering. The rivalry basketball game was so nerve-racking.” 

The rivalry between the two high schools has endured for decades, tracing back to around the time Tampa Catholic opened in 1962. Since then, the rivalry has only intensified, resorting to battles over social media and physical fights on game day. While some fans tend to point out the major differences between the institutions, such as Jesuit being all-boys, and Tampa Catholic being co-ed, there are many similarities that could buttress the competition. In addition to both of these schools being Catholic and service-oriented education centers, their close proximity of only three miles apart in West Tampa solidifies their animosity. 

Said to be the biggest game of the season, the Jesuit versus Tampa Catholic football game is a night where all students, parents, and alumni come decked out in blue or green to support their players on the field. In terms of football, Jesuit has come out on top over the years, having a much higher lead on wins. However, last year, Tampa Catholic made a comeback, beating Jesuit 20-19 in the last four minutes, and celebrated a victory for the first time since their last win in 1999. Angered by losing their twenty-two-year winning streak, the Jesuit Tigers redeemed their loss by beating Tampa Catholic, 66-35, in the 2023 game, reclaiming their football dominance. 


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Moving from the football field to the basketball court, it seems as if the roles are reversed for the two teams. Tampa Catholic has held the lead for basketball games over the years, due to their extremely strong basketball program, even having NBA star, Kevin Knox, graduate in 2017. The Crusaders have beat Jesuit every year consecutively for eight years, not losing since 2015. While basketball does not bring in quite the same crowd as football, basketball games entail much chaos, along with heated arguments between players and coaches. This game leaves the gymnasiums sold out, and students packed in to witness the rivalry once again. 

This long-standing rivalry has formed many traditions between Tampa teenagers, in conjunction with their feuds. Some traditions between the two schools include School-wide pep rallies to cheer on their teams, posting on Instagram to tear down the opposing side, and merchandise with “Beat Jesuit” plastered on the cover. While some traditions are rooted in playfulness and simple competition, others have been harmful to the opposite team, as there have been numerous fights and hurtful remarks passed along in regard to these teams. 


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Isabella Blewitt (‘27) says, “It is a very hectic and fun experience to cheer for the TC-Jesuit game. The stands are packed and the vibe is unmatched.”

Ultimately, the Jesuit and Tampa Catholic rivalry stays prevalent time and time again through their passionate students. With these games, students are able to showcase their school spirit and have important memories to look back on. It is a tradition that drives each player to be better every year and stays infamous for being one of the most intense rivalries in high school history. 

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  • Mark LamoureuxJan 31, 2024 at 9:34 pm

    Amazing and fun rivalry. The author has framed it well. The author did not mention how this rivalty has affected family dynamics. There are brothers that have gone to Jesuit where their sisters have gone to TC. Then you have these same brothers dating TC girls and the girls dating Jesuit boys. Many times there are parents who have gone to one school but have sent their kids to the other school. I’m 65 and graduated in 1976. I still attend many of these games and maintain friendships with students from the opposite school. It is fun to see some of these men and women today and tell stories as how we all tried to one up ea. other. Unless you are a part of it you really can’t understand it. It is a unique rivalry. However don’t get me wrong, both schools will always want to beat hell out of the other!