Inside 109-year-old Fenway Park, the East Boston football team took the 102nd Thanksgiving matchup against rival South Boston on a chilly Tuesday night, keeping its City League hopes alive with a 50-0 blanking.
East Boston (8-2) struck quickly when Christian Martinez ripped off a 51-yard run on the second play of the game, the start of an explosive 30-point first half.
East Boston coach John Parziale credited his team’s strong week of practice with the fast start.
“We jumped on them early,” Parziale said. “And to Southie’s credit, they battled along the whole way. But our kids were really focused tonight, and it was a little extra to play over here at Fenway Park.”
The Jets finish the season with one league loss and will win the title outright if O’Bryant beats Latin Academy Wednesday afternoon.
East Boston has now shut out the Knights in consecutive meetings and holds a 55-42-5 lead in the series.
South Boston (3-5) put together multiple productive drives in the first half, but the Jets forced two turnovers - an interception by junior Alex Valencia and a fumble recovery by senior Anthony Plagenza - to keep their rivals scoreless.
Senior Kevin Branch led the Knights with 52 total yards of offense and made multiple plays as a kickoff returner as well.
Junior quarterback Taelor Thompson completed his only pass of the game for a touchdown to Valencia. Thompson left the game in the first half with an injury, but the offense showed no sign of slowing down after Valencia stepped in under center.
With Tuesday’s shutout, the Jets cap off a dominant defensive season in which they only allowed more than 16 points once. This matchup was the team’s first shutout, and senior Sean Curtis put an exclamation mark on the win with an interception on the final play of the game.
Jaye Kincade, a 6-foot, 220-pound junior, showed off the combination of speed and power that helped the junior lead his team in touchdowns this season. He racked up 107 yards on seven first-half carries.
The scene after the game was emotional, as a strong senior class bid farewell to its high school football career.
Kincade knew he had to do everything he could to help the teams’ leaders end the year with a win. Regardless how the league title race shakes out, Kincade knows the team returns a solid core next fall.
“We’re losing a lot of good people, but we all have good energy and a good brotherhood so we’re going to move on,” Kincade said. “Same energy next year.”
Parziale emphasized the importance of this rivalry game to the East Boston community.
“Thankfully, this year we can say we beat South Boston,” he said.
Ethan McDowell can be reached at email@example.com.