Fenwick will play their counterpart in Dallas at this stadium next year.

There are several similarities between Fenwick High School and Dallas-Bishop Lynch. For instance, they share identical school colors. They also share identical mascot names, the Friars. That’s why it will be quite a spectacle when the football teams from the two schools meet face-to-face on Sept. 6 of next year in Dallas.

That’s correct. The Fenwick varsity football team will fly to the lone star state next season to play Dallas-Bishop Lynch, a private Catholic school that was founded in 1963 by the same Dominican order as Fenwick. One of the founders was Fenwick grad Rev. Richard LaPata, who spent nine years as Fenwick’s president.

An Illinois high school football team playing far from home is not entirely unusual. Back in August, Loyola Academy took on Dallas Jesuit in Dublin, Ireland. St. Rita played Whitehaven of Tennessee last season in East St. Louis as part of the City of Champions Football Classic.

 “We were invited by Bishop Lynch as part of the 50-year anniversary of the school’s opening, and we decided that this was a great opportunity for our student-athletes,” said Scott Thies, athletics director at Fenwick. “We will reverse the favor in 2014 with Bishop Lynch coming here to play.”

Thies said not all the particulars have been worked out yet with the logistics and the finances, but the trip will for sure take place.

“We’re currently having conversations within the administration about how we are going to make this happen, and we’re also talking with Loyola about some of the things they did in order to travel so far with a team.”

Thies said the school might charter a flight and fly down on Thursday, the day before the game.

“It will be quite an experience for the team. Immediately, people think of Friday Night Lights,” said Thies, referring to the popular television show set in Dillon, Texas. “High school football is very popular in Texas.”    

As far as Thies knows, the Fenwick football team has never played in Texas. “I’m not sure that in the program’s long history it played out of state or not, but definitely not in Texas,” he said.

The teams will play at Bishop Lynch’s Roffino Stadium, a facility with synthetic turf. As for where the two teams will go head-to-head when Lynch comes to Oak Park in 2014, Theis replied, “That’s a good question.” Fenwick has never had its own stadium. The Friars currently play their homes games at Morton West.

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Brad Spencer

Brad Spencer has been covering sports in and around Oak Park for more than a decade, which means the young athletes he once covered in high school are now out of college and at home living with their parents...

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