After the pandemic put the tradition on hold in 2020, Thanksgiving football is back in force across Massachusetts for the second year.
With many rivalries that date back 100 years or more, and league title implications on the line in several matchups, there is a lot to watch before heading to the dinner table Thursday.
The action opens on Tuesday night with two games at Fenway Park. Latin Academy (6-4) takes on Boston City League rival O’Bryant (5-3) in a relatively young rivalry at 5 p.m. followed by the 135th meeting between Medford (2-8) and Malden (3-6) at 7:30 p.m.
There are over a dozen games on Wednesday, including three more at Fenway. St. Mary’s (10-1) takes on old Catholic Central League rival Austin Prep, which shifted to the NEPSAC’s Evergreen League this season, in the opener at 1:30 p.m. Belmont (4-5) and Watertown (6-4) tangle in the 100th installment of their rivalry at 4 p.m. before Brockton (8-2) and Bridgewater-Raynham (5-5) cap the festivities.
Brockton vs Bridgewater-Raynham — The second night of games at Fenway Park concludes Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. with a battle for supremacy in the Southeast Conference between Brockton (8-2, 3-0) and B-R (5-5, 3-0). It is also the final game for Brockton coach Peter Colombo after a 19-year run, and ends the Colombo era with the Boxers that started with his father, legend Armond, in 1969. Pick: BROCKTON.
Xaverian at St. John’s Prep — While the Eagles face a monumental task in the Division 1 Super Bowl against Springfield Central, they aren’t going to overlook a rivalry game against Xaverian. In 2019, Prep beat X, 35-0, before winning the state title. But in 2018, they took a 14-12 loss to the Hawks at Fenway Park. Pick: XAVERIAN.
Billerica at Chelmsford — For the first time since 2005, these rivals meet with a league title on the line. Chelmsford topped Billerica, 16-3, last year and is seeking the program’s first Merrimack Valley Small crown since 2011. Pick: CHELMSFORD.
Wakefield at Melrose — These rivals meet for the 112th time and Melrose holds a 62-42-7 lead in the series overall, but Wakefield is up 32-26-3 on Thanksgiving after snapping an 11-game skid last November. Pick: WAKEFIELD.
Stoneham at Reading — While the Spartans (10-1, 4-1) are looking ahead to the Division 6 Super Bowl, there are major league title implications on Thanksgiving with Middlesex Freedom contenders Wakefield (11-0, 4-0) and Melrose (6-4, 3-1) also facing off. James Murphy looks to cap his storied career by giving Reading (9-1, 5-0) another Middlesex Liberty title. Pick: READING.
Mansfield at Foxborough — It will be a quick turnaround for Foxborough (6-5, 3-0) after falling to Grafton in the Division 4 state semifinals on Saturday. Mansfield (8-2, 3-0) is looking to clinch the Hockomock Davenport title in its first season since shifting divisions. Pick: MANSFIELD.
Hull at Cohasset — Last year both of these programs were Super Bowl bound and Cohasset rolled Hull, 42-0, en route to a Division 7 state title. The Pirates (11-0, 3-0) have lost 11 straight in this rivalry, but might be concentrating on breaking through for a Division 8 championship. Pick: COHASSET.
Franklin at King Philip — Coming off a bellweather season in which it won the Hockomock Kelley-Rex and beat King Philip (9-1, 3-1) for the first time in 11 years, Franklin (6-3, 3-1) looks to repeat the feat, while the Warriors focus on Thursday and then their fifth Super Bowl appearance in six seasons. Pick: KING PHILIP.
Duxbury at Marshfield — The Dragons (10-0, 4-0) have been on a mission to avenge a narrow loss to Scituate in the D4 Super Bowl last December. Marshfield (7-3, 4-0) crushed some of Duxbury’s backups in other years when the Dragons were preparing for Gillette, but Duxbury earned a 38-28 win last year. Pick: DUXBURY.
English/New Mission at Boston Latin — The longest continuous rivalry in America up until 2020 resumes for a second year at Harvard Stadium. English (2-7) snapped a six-game skid against Latin (4-5) with a 66-42 win in 2021. Pick: BOSTON LATIN.
Swampscott at Marblehead — Swampscott (3-7, 0-3) has struggled after winning consecutive Division 5 Super Bowls, but the Big Blue will be geared up to try and take down Marblehead (7-2, 3-1) in the 112th installment of this rivalry. Pick: MARBLEHEAD.
Amesbury at Newburyport — After falling, 33-20, to West Boylston in the D6 semifinals, Amesbury (8-2, 5-1) looks to clinch at least a share of the Cape Ann League title, with the chance to take it outright if Lynnfield (6-4, 4-2) wins at Super Bowl-bound North Reading (10-1, 5-1). Pick: AMESBURY.