Jesuit to kickoff 2012 football season in Ireland vs. Loyola Academy (Illinois)

Jesuit is taking the all-American experience of Friday night lights across the pond to Ireland. It will play a football game against Loyola Academy (Illinois) on Aug. 31, 2012 in Dublin.

The game is part of the Global Ireland Football Tournament, which features five other high school games and a game between Notre Dame and Navy on Sept. 1.

“At first, I thought it was kind of crazy,” said Steve Koch, Jesuit’s athletic director. “But kind of intriguing, just giving our kids the opportunity and the chance to see Dublin.”

Since January, Jesuit and Global Football, Inc., had discussed the possibility of the game. Patrick Steenberge, president of Granbury-based Global Football Inc., went to Notre Dame, where he knew several people with connections to Jesuit. After talks and planning, the game was finalized this week.

“It will be an unbelievable experience as a coach, for the players, for the alumni and for our community here at Jesuit,” coach Brandon Hickman said.

Koch said Jesuit would raise the necessary finances through fundraising events and possibly by charging players a fee.

Loyola Academy is one of the top private schools in Illinois. It won Chicago’s Catholic League championship in 2010.

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