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The Bruce-Mahoney trophy is named in honor of Bill Bruce (Saint Ignatius College Preparatory, 1935) and Jerry Mahoney ’44. Both men were outstanding athletes who lost their lives serving their country in World War II. Mahoney was an all-city football and basketball player at Sacred Heart and later excelled at boxing in the military. The fiery redhead is known as one of the greatest all-around athletes ever produced by San Francisco high schools. He enlisted in the Navy after graduation and was aboard the SS Henry B. Plant when the ship was sunk by a German submarine in the English Channel on February 5, 1945. Bruce was an all-star football player and student body president at St. Ignatius. He also joined the Navy and was killed in an airplane crash at the Naval Air Station in Pasco, Washington.
SHC and SI are two of the oldest high schools in San Francisco and as such, they make up what is widely considered to be the oldest private school rivalry in the nation. They have been battling each other well before the turn of the 20th century, with the rivalry as passionate today as it was when it began in 1891.
Father Cornelius P. Kennedy, a pastor at St. Paul’s Parish, created the first football team at SHC. He had read a book written by football innovator Amos Alonzo Stagg and was instantly taken with the sport. The first football game between then-Sacred Heart and St. Ignatius took place on St. Patrick’s Day in 1893 on a long-since replaced field at 8th and Market streets. Admission to the game was five cents, the referees were not paid, and the Irish won the game by a score of 14-4. This friendly scrimmage in the park has evolved into a formal competition, with a perennial trophy now passed between the two schools annually.
Established in 1947, the Bruce-Mahoney trophy is awarded to whichever school wins two out of three each year in football, basketball and baseball. If the teams play more than once, only the first league competition counts toward the awarding of the trophy. The Irish won the most recent competition, winning football and basketball in 2011-2012.
*St. Ignatius and Sacred Heart split the Trophy in 1967-68 and 1968-69.