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BILLERICA –– As Kyle Wilder rose from taking a knee at midfield on the final play of the game Thursday, a huge smile enveloped his face as he cradled the game ball, pointing to the Chelmsford student section as the troop of Lions roared in applause.

Wilder’s 7-yard rushing touchdown gave Chelmsford the lead and the Lions never looked back, scoring 16 points in the final 11 minutes to defeat Billerica, 16-3. The Lions captured the Police Chiefs Trophy for the third time in the last four years and extended their record to 59-28-5 in the Thanksgiving day rivalry that dates to 1927.

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The defense for Chelmsford (8-3) gave the Indians offense headaches all game, clogging rushing lanes and winning the battle in the trenches. Billerica (9-3) was held to 172 yards of offense, with Lions senior defensive back Devin DeJesus undercutting a crossing route to seal the victory with an interception.

“Billerica’s really good, but our defense came to play,” Wilder said. “We just wanted it more. [Beating Billerica] means the world to us.”

Chelmsford captains Troy Muldoon (8) and William Walsh hold up the Police Chiefs Trophy after the Lions defeated Billerica.
Chelmsford captains Troy Muldoon (8) and William Walsh hold up the Police Chiefs Trophy after the Lions defeated Billerica.Winslow Townson for The Boston Globe

The momentum of the game swung in the Lions’ favor when senior defensive end Collin Reed charged in unblocked, driving his shoulder through Indians quarterback Joseph Green and forcing a fumble, recovered by Lions junior Cooper Collins, as the Indians were 9 yards away from paydirt looking to extend a 3-0 lead.

“Our defense stood up the entire game,” Chelmsford coach George Peterson said. “They did a fantastic job for us. The game was won by our defense, we just had to put it in once.”

Wilder, who finished with 18 rushes for 72 yards and a touchdown, pounced upon green grass in front of him and scampered in for the Lions’ first score. Following an Indians three and out, Wilder connected with junior receiver John McCarthy down the left sideline on fourth and 15. McCarthy’s 34-yard, full-extension reception brought the ball down to the 1-yard line, where junior Dan Craig punched in the score, extending the lead to 13-3.

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“Every single year on Thanksgiving day, you can throw records out the door,” Peterson said. “It’s a Super Bowl type atmosphere and for our kids, it means everything to them to line up against Billerica.”

For the 92nds time, Billerica (foreground) and Chelmsford met for the Police Chiefs Trophy.
For the 92nds time, Billerica (foreground) and Chelmsford met for the Police Chiefs Trophy. Winslow Townson for The Boston Globe
Chelmsford's offensive line, led by Thomas Brown, tried to find running room for quarterback Kyle Wilder against the defense of Keith Johnston (74) and Billerica.
Chelmsford's offensive line, led by Thomas Brown, tried to find running room for quarterback Kyle Wilder against the defense of Keith Johnston (74) and Billerica.Winslow Townson for The Boston Globe
The Chelmsford marching band performed at halftime of the rivalry matchup at Billerica.
The Chelmsford marching band performed at halftime of the rivalry matchup at Billerica.Winslow Townson for The Boston Globe

Cam Kerry can be reached at cam.kerry@globe.com.