A guide to Thanksgiving high school football
Thanksgiving in Massachusetts brings many rich traditions, including high school football rivalry games. The Bay State is home to the nation’s oldest public school rivalry, between Wellesley and Needham, a series that began in 1882. It is also home to the oldest continuous rivalry, between Boston Latin and Boston English, which is in its 132nd year.
In all, more than 10 rivalries in Massachusetts have lasted more than 100 years, and plenty of newer rivalries are gaining more attention each year.
For the third time in four years, Fenway Park is playing host to a number of Thanksgiving rivalry games as part of its Gridiron Series.
With the MIAA state championships scheduled for Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 at Gillette Stadium, high school football is on a grand stage this time of year. But when most of the Thanksgiving games kick off at 10 a.m. Thursday, nothing matters more than beating your local rival.
A quick look at some of the matchups:
■ Beverly and Salem meet for the 120th time. Beverly coach Andrew Morency is one of several family members to have played in this historic rivalry. His nephew, Danny Morency, is the backup quarterback, and starting quarterback Ryan Barror is his cousin.
■ East Boston and South Boston meet for the 100th time. Eastie leads the series, 52-42-5. This year’s game will be played at 9:30 a.m. at Sartori Stadium in East Boston because of poor field conditions at White Stadium.
■ Boston Latin has won 48 of the last 50 meetings against Boston English, but English merged with New Mission this year to became a highly successful cooperative program. English coach Ryan Conway played in the historic 100th meeting. This year’s game, the 132nd meeting, will again be played at Harvard Stadium.
■ Needham is going for its 60th win in a series Wellesley leads, 62-59-6.
■ Lynn English and Lynn Classical clash at Manning Field in their 105th meeting. English holds a 55-40-9 advantage. English senior quarterback Matt Severance is 2-1 in this rivalry.
■ North Attleborough and Attleboro meet for the 99th time. North Attleborough has dominated the border war with a 61-29-8 advantage, and hopes to earn at least a share of the Hockomock Davenport title with a win.
■ The 60th meeting between Lynnfield and North Reading was originally moved to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday night, but an uproar from residents of both towns convinced officials to stick with the traditional kickoff time of 10 a.m. Thursday.
■ This year marks the 90th meeting between Chelmsford and Billerica, and the 90th meeting between Somerset-Berkeley and Case.
■ Quincy and North Quincy have annually sold out the 3,000-seat Veterans Memorial Stadium since 1962. Quincy leads the series, 46-33-5, with the 85th meeting this year.
■ Marblehead holds a slim 53-49-6 edge over Swampscott in a rivalry that drew a huge crowd last year. Marblehead can win the NEC North title outright with a win, while Swampscott hopes to share the NEC South title with a win. Mike Lynch, sports anchor at Channel 5, kicked a winning field goal in 1969 to propel Swampscott past Marblehead.
■ Hamilton-Wenham can earn a Cape Ann League Small title outright by beating Ipswich in the 44th installment of that rivalry. An Ipswich win could create a three-way tie atop the standings with Amesbury.
■ St. John’s Prep and Xaverian meet at Fenway Park Wednesday night with a Catholic Conference title on the line. Xaverian has won five straight in this 50-year rivalry.
■ The 88th meeting between Mansfield and Foxborough is at Fenway Tuesday night, the first time since 1989 the game has not taken place on Thanksgiving morning. Mansfield can earn an outright Hockomock Kelley-Rex title with a win.
■ The 113th meeting between Natick and Framingham will take place at Fenway Wednesday night, with a Bay State Carey Division title on the line. Natick can win the league outright with a win and Framingham could earn a share of the title.
■ Milton, Central Catholic, Holliston, and Medway can all earn outright league titles with wins.
■ Norwell and East Bridgewater are tied atop the South Coast Conference Small Division.
■ Whitman-Hanson is going for its 60th win over Abington in a series that dates back to 1910. Abington 45-year coach Jim Kelliher is making his 51st appearance in the game as a player or coach.
■ Hanover goes for its 30th win over Norwell, and Lexington seeks its 25th win over Burlington.
■ Falmouth holds a 62-58-8 lead over Barnstable, which looks to close the gap further.
■ Dracut holds a slim 27-25-3 lead over Methuen. Dracut captain Allyn French is starting in a fourth consecutive Thanksgiving game.
■ Haverhill leads Lowell, 56-52-8, and Watertown leads Belmont, 48-43-5. Fairhaven looks to build on its 42-40-4 advantage over Dartmouth.
■ Winthrop has won 41 of the last 46 meetings with Revere to take a 56-30-1 lead in that series.
■ The 89th meeting between Braintree and Milton was moved to Wednesday night but public outcry prompted it to be moved back to Thursday.
■ Bridgewater-Raynham has defeated Brockton in seven of eight years since Brockton discontinued its rivalry with Waltham. Waltham trails Malden Catholic, 6-2, in its new rivalry.
■ Andover has won both meetings over North Andover since that became an official Thanksgiving rivalry three years ago.
■ Shawsheen Tech owned the greatest win percentage of any rivalry with 21 victories in 25 meetings with Greater Lowell, but begins a new rivalry with Austin Prep this year. This will be the last game in the 40-year coaching career of Prep coach Bill Maradei, including Dom Savio.
■ Reading now owns the greatest win percentage with a 62-17-4 edge over Stoneham, which may rest key starters ahead of the Division 6 Super Bowl.
■ Catholic Memorial, St. John’s Prep, North Andover, King Philip, Tewksbury, Dighton-Rehoboth, Scituate, Old Rochester, St. Mary’s, and Pope John also may rest starters ahead of their Super Bowl matchups.
■ Lynn Tech and Kipp Academy, Milford and Maynard, and Randolph and Atlantis Charter begin new rivalries this year.
■ The first meeting between Brighton and Chelsea is at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Daly Field in Brighton.
■ There are 26 teams playing rematches on Thanksgiving. Earlier this season, Holliston defeated Westwood, East Bridgewater beat Rockland, Cohasset beat Hull, Bourne beat Wareham, Dennis-Yarmouth beat Nauset, King Philip beat Franklin, Dighton-Rehoboth beat Seekonk, Medway beat Millis, Norton beat Bellingham, Pope John defeated Matignon/St. Joseph Prep, Upper Cape beat Cape Cod Tech, Old Rochester beat Apponequet, and Canton defeated Stoughton.
■ English and Latin have the most ties (13) of any rivalry, followed by Winchester and Woburn with 12 and Malden and Medford with 10.