CONCORD — The sound of muskets firing before kickoff was one final reminder of the significance for neighbors and longtime rivals finally renewing their Thanksgiving Day tradition.
A series with more than 100 years of history resumed its rightful placement on the calendar in late November for the first time since 1972.
The Patriots used a big 21-point second quarter to secure a third straight winning season in a 35-6 win over Lexington at Memorial Field in the 99th meeting between the programs.
Concord-Carlisle (6-5) extended its lead in the all-time series to 50-42-7. The first meeting between the schools came in 1893, with the first on Thanksgiving in 1924. Lexington finished 3-7.
“There’s so much tradition between the two programs,” Concord-Carlisle coach Josh Reed said. “They have a great program over there; for the seniors to go out and end it on a victory was a perfect ending for their season.”
A third-quarter touchdown run by fullback Tim Hays that pushed the lead to 28-0 received the most fanfare. Hays tore ACL in February and suited up for the first time this season Thursday and took his third carry of the game for a score.
“It was amazing,” Hays said. “Not being able to play for two years, there’s been so much in the works. To come back out here and play with my brothers and end up in the end zone was amazing. It felt like home.”
“The work he has put in to finish out his senior year, he deserved every little bit of that,” Reed said. “No one works harder than him on and off the field.”
It was the first taste of the rivalry as head coaches for both Reed and Lexington’s Shane Wilson, but both have experienced it before. Both were assistants at Concord-Carlisle before taking their respective posts.
“Our big thing was focusing on executing every single play, and that was our mantra,” Reed said. “We didn’t want to be overly consumed with the entire game.”
Second-quarter touchdown runs by Dylan Jennings and Blake Newcomb staked the Patriots a 14-0 advantage. Newcomb then intercepted a pass at the goal line to prevent Lexington from getting on the board. Two plays later, Jennings hit Kyle Fivek for a 70-yard touchdown with 22 seconds left in the half.
Concord-Carlisle’s John Kielar and Lexington’s Ahmad Hanberry exchanged fourth-quarter touchdowns.