Despite the vast allure of the more than 90 Thanksgiving rivalries in Eastern Massachusetts, each one holding a special place in the tradition of high school football here, only nine hold the key to the MIAA playoffs.
Holbrook/Avon awaits a possible coin flip for a berth in the Division 5 Super Bowl if it beats West Bridgewater, and seven other games are of the win-or-go-home variety, making an already interesting day a bit more hyped for a few.
Andover hosts Central Catholic in a game that determines which team will represent the Merrimack Valley Conference in the Division 1 playoffs despite the possiblity of a three-way tie with Lowell. Lowell was mathematically eliminated from the playoffs because of the league’s point system.
St. John’s Prep visits Xaverian in a clash of powerhouses in the Catholic Conference. Despite its 4-6 record, if Xaverian beats St. John’s Prep (8-1) the Hawks will represent their league in the Division 1 playoffs against either Andover or Central Catholic.
Natick, which is led by Troy Flutie (27 touchdown passes), can clinch a spot in the Division 2A playoffs with a win over Framingham. Framingham has won the past two contests in the rivalry.
Walpole, which lost to Natick in Week 10 of the high school football season, can get in the playoffs if Natick loses and the Rebels beat host Weymouth.
Holliston and Westwood will battle to determine which team represents the Tri-Valley League Large in the Division 3 playoffs against Wayland.
Newburyport faces Amesbury with the winner representing the CAL/NEC Division 3. The winner of that game will await its Division 3A playoff opponent, either North Reading or Lynnfield, which kicks off a half hour later Thursday morning and will represent the CAL/NEC Division 4.
Blue Hills, which features the state’s leader in touchdowns, Vincent Burton (32 touchdowns), can punch its ticket to the Division 4A playoffs by beating Bristol-Plymouth.
In Division 5, Holbrook/Avon can force a coin toss with a three-way tie (Holbrook, Upper Cape, South Shore) in the Mayflower Small if it beats West Bridgewater. The coin toss will occur on the field immediately after the game.
For live updates from each of the top games and more on Thanksgiving, visit Boston.com’s live updates blog. To contribute to the live coverage from your game via Twitter, tweet using #massfootball.Zuri Berry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow him on Twitter @zuriberry.