This year, before you gather with your family to eat turkey, gobble stuffing, and munch on Nana’s sweet potato pie, you’ve got another special treat with the Thanksgiving high school football slate. Not only will you get an opportunity to watch one of the country’s’ best high school rivalries, you’ll also get a chance to see the last vestige of the state’s high school football playoff format at work. There’s tons of games with playoff implications. Take a look at some of the best to watch in Boston and Eastern Mass:
Central Catholic at Andover , 10 a.m.
A win by either team means a playoff spot representing the Merrimack Valley Conference, despite the possibility of a three-way tie in the league. (The points system in the MVC has already disallowed Lowell from a playoff spot.) Andover (2-1, 9-1) has one of the more prolific offenses in Eastern Mass., putting up 38.6 points per game. Central Catholic (3-0, 9-1) has held opponents to 16.2 points per game. Central’s Santino Brancato and D’Andre Drummond-Mayrie have rushed for 11 touchdowns apiece while Andover quarterback CJ Scarpa has thrown for 30 touchdowns. Central leads the series 19-18-1.
St. John’s Prep at Xaverian, 10:15 a.m.
Besides being one of the premier matchups in the Catholic Conference year in and year out, this game will also determine which of the two teams moves on to the playoffs. Xaverian (3-0, 4-6) has a clean slate in the conference and leads the series 23-20, but St. John’s Prep (3-0, 8-1) is powered by the dynamic duo of Alex Moore (17 touchdowns) and Johnathan Thomas (13 touchdowns). Xaverian’s defense is led by Michigan-bound Maurice Hurst.
Natick at Framingham , 10 a.m.
If Natick (8-1, 9-1) wins, the Redhawks clinch the Bay State Herget’s playoff spot. If they lose, Walpole can clinch a playoff spot with a win over Weymouth. Natick holds the tiebreaker over Walpole after beating the Rebels in Week 10, 21-14. Natick is quarterbacked by Troy Flutie who has a Division 2A-leading 27 touchdown passes and 12 touchdown runs. His top receiver is Brian Dunlap (16 touchdown receptions). Quarterback Chris Bloomingdale has tossed 17 touchdowns this season for Framingham (5-4, 5-5). Natick leads the series 69-32-5.
Walpole at Weymouth, 10 a.m.
This is a relatively new rivalry with Walpole (8-1, 9-1) leading Weymouth 12-4. It also sports the region’s only brother-against-brother coaching matchup, with twins Barry Greener (Walpole) and Brian (Weymouth) Greener leading their respective teams. Walpole needs the win and help to get in the playoffs for the Bay State Herget, including a loss by Natick to Framingham. Weymouth (7-2, 8-2) is already in the playoffs for Division 1. Walpole features Cam Hanley (18 touchdowns) while Weymouth relies on the arm and legs of David Harrison (11 touchdown passes, 18 TD runs).
Holliston at Westwood , 10 a.m.
Winner of this year’s tilt will represent the Tri-Valley League Large against Wayland in the Division 3 playoffs. Westwood (3-0, 7-3) leads the series 24-14-1, but Holliston (3-0, 7-3) has dominated as of late. Max Athy (16 touchdowns) powers Holliston while the Berluti brothers, Bo (13 touchdowns) and Alex (22 touchdown passes), lead Westwood.
Newburyport at Amesbury , 10 a.m.
Winner moves on to playoffs, representing the Cape Ann League Northeastern Conference. Newburyport (3-1, 6-4) leads the series 42-36-6. Tyler Cusack’s 10 touchdowns leads Newburyport while Matt Talbot (10 touchdowns) and Tommy Connors (8 touchdowns) lead Amesbury (4-0, 8-2).
North Reading at Lynnfield , 10:30 a.m.
Winner moves on to playoffs. North Reading (4-0, 8-1) is on a seven-game winning streak. Lynnfield (4-0, 7-2) leads the series 32-21. Kyle McGah (12 touchdowns) powers Lynnfield’s offense while Carl Lipani (21 touchdowns) has racked up the numbers for North Reading.
Blue Hills at Bristol-Plymouth (3-1, 4-6), 10 a.m.
While there is a playoff spot on the line in this game, you may just want to go to watch one of the state’s best running backs -- Vincent Burton of Blue Hills (4-0, 9-1). He leads Eastern Massachusetts in rushing touchdowns with 32. The winner represents the Mayflower Large against Boston’s Madison Park. Blue Hills leads the series 3-2. Bristol-Plymouth is 3-1, 4-6.
Holbrook/Avon at West Bridgewater , 10 a.m.
If Holbrook/Avon (3-1, 6-1) beats West Bridgewater (1-3, 3-6), the win for the Bulldogs would create a three-way tie in the Mayflower Small. In that scenario, a coin toss, followed by a look at head-to-head records, will determine which team represents the league in the Division 5 Super Bowl against Dorchester. If Holbrook/Avon loses, Upper Cape will be headed to the Super Bowl. West Bridgewater leads the series 5-1 and is led by Aaron Pearson (13 touchdowns). Holbrook/Avon is powered by Ben Riordan (8 touchdowns) on offense.
Latin vs. English, 10 a.m. at Harvard
This may be the year for English (1-4, 3-6). This is as close to parity as Latin and English have gotten in years. Latin (1-3, 1-9) leads the series 76-36-13 and has won 29 of the team’s last 30 meetings. The game is the longest continuous rivalry in the country. Jhalen Bien-Aime (13 touchdowns) leads Latin while the Blue & Blue is led by quarterback Deh’Jour Releford (5 touchdown passes).
Medford at Malden, 10 a.m.
Why would one 1-win and one winless team register on our radar? Because as both schools so passionately argued, their history is an important one. This is the 125th meeting between Medford (0-3, 0-9) and Malden (1-2, 1-8), with Malden leading the series 60-54-10. Both schools voted against the new high school football playoff format, worrying that the possibility of playing more than once a year would dilute the series. This may be the last time both schools play each other only once a year.
Swampscott at Marblehead, 10 a.m.
One of the closest, oldest rivalries in the state, Swampscott (1-3, 4-7) leads the series 50-49-7. Zac Cuzner has 12 touchdowns and Ian Maag has 12 touchdowns for Marblehead (2-2, 8-2). Brian Santry leads Swampscott with 9 touchdowns.
Wellesley at Needham, 10 a.m.
When we talk about tradition in Massachusetts high school football, the matchup between the Raiders and the Rockets comes to mind. This will be the 125th meeting between the two schools, with Wellesley (5-4, 6-4) leading the series 59-56-9. Needham (6-3, 7-3), last season’s Division 1 runner-up, is led by the dynamic Mike Panepinto (20 touchdowns) and Wellesley is led by quarterback Chris Sarni (14 touchdown passes, 12 TD runs).
South Boston at East Boston, 9:30 a.m.
Forget Latin-English, this is the city’s top rivalry. Eastie leads Southie 46-42-6, with the Jets getting the upper hand after three straight wins. As the first game of the day, it also has its own significance in Massachusetts. South Boston (2-2, 3-7) is led by receiver Pannell Davis (4 touchdowns) while East Boston (2-2, 4-5) is led by Juan Bonilla and LeRoy McPherson (4 touchdowns each).
Watertown at Belmont, 10:15 a.m.
Watertown (1-4, 5-5) can tie up the series with a win on Thanksgiving in the 91st meeting of the two teams. Belmont (1-4, 1-9) leads the all-time series 43-42-5. The Red Raiders are led by Logan Riley (14 touchdowns) while Belmont is led by Brian Coutts (6 touchdowns).