NEEDHAM — Linked arm-in-arm with his fellow Wellesley senior teammates, Grant Chryssicas made the “senior walk” to the Needham 50-yard line for one final coin toss ahead of the 129th edition of the oldest public high school Thanksgiving rivalry in the country.
“It was pretty emotional,” the Wellesley captain said. “Just a different game right from the start.”
Chryssicas played on Wellesley youth football teams that defeated its town rival, but the running back and linebacker hadn’t notched a win over Needham during his high school career — until Thursday morning.
Thanks to four touchdowns by Chryssicas, the Wellesley seniors ended their season with a bang, cruising to a 34-14 win on Needham’s home turf to bring the all-time series to 61-59-9 in favor of Wellesley.
“That’s the way to go out,” Chryssicas said. “Beating Needham, at Needham. That’s the way to go.”
Chryssicas also dominated on defense, racking up three solo sacks and teaming up with junior Josh Cohen for a quarterback drop.
“Grant’s a stud, he’s our guy,” Wellesley coach Jesse Davis said. “We give him the ball any way we can, making plays on defense. He’s probably the best player I’ve ever coached.”
Senior wide receivers Jason Maiona and Brendan Dolan also made their mark on the rivalry as Dolan completed a halfback pass on fourth down to a wide open Maiona for a 32-yard touchdown.
Maiona also had two interceptions, and fellow senior Isaac Weycker also snagged a pick.
For Needham (5-6), junior quarterback Charlie Sumner connected with senior Brendan Smith for a 24-yard touchdown and senior captain Jared Sklar scored on a 1-yard rush.
Wellesley finished 10-1, its only loss a 9-0 setback at the hands of Bridgewater-Raynham in the Division 1A South semifinal playoffs.
“Ten in one is still a great season,” Chryssicas said. “We fought hard against Bridgewater-Raynham, nothing we could really do. And I’m glad we rebounded from that and had two tough wins, [one] against Brockton, and finished it off on Thanksgiving.”