In a Sannella family tradition, to the victor goes the . . . colors
Matt Sannella had plenty of reasons to be happy after Reading beat Stoneham, 28-26, in overtime on Thanksgiving.
The Rockets senior quarterback threw for 125 yards and two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to bring Reading back from a 20-6 deficit and hand Stoneham its first loss.
But the biggest reason for his postgame smile on the freezing, concrete-like natural grass of Stoneham might have been his postgame Thanksgiving dinner wardrobe.
With relatives in both Reading and Stoneham, a tradition going back 15 years had family from the losing team dressing in the colors of the winning team at dinner.
For the past two years that meant Sannella dressed in Stoneham blue and white. “It’s been tough,” said Sannella days before the game.
“I never really knew what it felt like to wear blue and white because growing up, every single year, when I was watching, before I was even in high school, I was wearing red and black.”
Thursday he got to wear the red and black again. His Stoneham relatives, which includes his aunt Donna Cargill, the Stoneham High principal, had to do the same. Another reason to smile on the holiday.
■ Swampscott-Marblehead was played Thanksgiving morning at Blocksidge Field, which is a cork-based turf. This, it turns out, makes it slick and cement-like in the extreme cold. So once the game got underway, the visiting Magicians and their supporters began a frantic operation to change their players from cleats to sneakers. Bleacher-goers offered up their shoes, former players and the coaches unlaced their footwear, and parents formed a caravan to grab extra pairs from the high school.
“That was the most amazing thing I’ve been a part of,” said Marblehead coach Jim Rudloff. “It was like the movie ‘Dunkirk.’ I could see vessels coming in and out of the parking lot with shoes.”
Chris Gally, the Magicians quarterback, ran for three touchdowns wearing a pair of sneakers he snagged from the student section.
■ In his 40th and final season as a head coach, Bill Maradei directed Austin Prep to a 14-8 win over Shawsheen in North Reading. It was career win No. 270 for Maradei, a state record for Catholic schools. He started at the former Dom Savio before taking the helm at Austin Prep in 1993. Maradei said his reason for returning this year was a promise he made to the nine seniors on the roster.
“I’m burnt out after 45 years [as a coach],” said Maradei. “I’ve been a lucky man, it’s great to be around these kids, they give me a lot of energy. Two hundred seventy is a nice round number.”
There were ups and downs throughout his tenure at Austin Prep, but his favorite moment came in 2009 during the Cougars’ 38-15 Super Bowl triumph over heavily favored Holliston. Maradei’s two sons, Mark, an offensive tackle, and Billy, a fullback/defensive end, were key contributors on that team.
“You don’t realize it when you’re coaching the game, but afterward I had my Disney moment and it hit me like a ton of bricks,” Maradei said. “It’s not easy being a coach’s kid but they were both terrific and everything fell into place.”
As for what he’ll do in his first fall without football in a half-century, Maradei is looking forward to taking a family cruise to Bermuda in August.
■ East Boston-South Boston on Thanksgiving Day always is special, but for the Jets, this year was a bit more special. It the 100th meeting between the teams on the holiday, but with coach John Parziale’s mother dying two weeks ago, East Boston had a little extra motivation. Parziale’s mother, Lydia, would have turned 79 on Thanksgiving, so the Jets dedicated the game and the 22-6 win to her.
■ Tewksbury’s 22-year coach Brian Aylward earned his 150th career win and his son, Shane, broke the program record for receptions in a season during a 43-0 win over Wilmington.
■ North Quincy’s defense came up with seven turnovers in a 33-8 win over Quincy. Senior cocaptain Alex Atanassov had two interceptions and two fumble recoveries and sophomore Tyler Le had a fumble recovery and an interception. Senior Tim Layden had a 45-yard interception return for a TD.
■ Behind a surging offensive line, Lynn English senior Matt Severance gained positive yardage on more than a dozen quarterback sneaks, finishing with 78 rushing yards and the game’s only offensive touchdowns. When he had to throw, Severance completed 2 of 4 attempts, one to sophomore Mathias Fowler on the Bulldogs’ first scrimmage play. Severance added a beautiful sideline throw to Fowler for 7 yards to convert on fourth down and set up his second-quarter rushing score from the 3-yard line.
■ Falmouth junior quarterback Kyle Connolly became the second Clipper to rush for more than 300 yards in a game this season, compiling 303 yards and four touchdowns to lead his team past Barnstable, 36-14.
■ With temperatures hovering below zero because of the wind chill, the Danvers band — which was expected to produce an awesome halftime show
— went back into the school early in the first quarter and never returned. The cold weather had begun to freeze the instruments, making it almost impossible for the performers to play.
■ TechBoston senior Marcus Gonzalez broke the 2,000-yard mark on the season with 174 rushing yards in a 48-6 win over Cathedral.
■ Zach Maffeo got the better of a matchup with twin and fellow quarterback Luke Maffeo, throwing for two touchdowns to lead his Latin Academy Dragons past Luke’s O’Bryant Tigers, 28-8.
■ Bellingham senior John Keeler booted a 24-yard field goal with two seconds left to give the host Blackhawks their first Thanksgiving victory in 10 years, 9-7 over Norton. The Blackhawks improved to 9-12 in the all-time series.
■ Scituate senior linebacker Joshua McKeever set the school’s career tackling record previously held by Matt King in a 28-26 nail-biting win over Hingham. McKeever’s 13 tackles on Thursday push his career mark to 234.
■ Braintree senior Billy Silvia set a pair of records in his 256-yard, four-touchdown performance in the Wamps’ 35-21 victory over Milton. With 29 points on Thursday, he set the season scoring record with 149 points and the career mark of 267.
Joe Pendergast (’97) held the season mark, and Pendergast and John Slauson (’52) had shared the career record.
■ In the 11th and final meeting of the Arlington-Arlington Catholic rivalry, Spy Ponders senior quarterback Adam Bowler set program records with 2,065 yard passing and 992 yards rushing to cap his career. Arlington finished the series with a 7-4 advantage.
■ Taunton earned a 10th straight victory over Coyle & Cassidy, 34-0, breaking the record for consecutive victories in the series held by the Warriors from 1956-64. The Tigers lead the rivalry, 49-36-2.
■ Colin Ball missed eight games this season because of a broken collarbone, but he got the chance to play on Thanksgiving Day in Duxbury’s 42-22 win over Marshfield. Ball made the most of the opportunity, picking off a pass that led to a Duxbury touchdown.
“I’ll remember that forever,” Ball said.
Globe correspondents Lenny Rowe, Steve Sousa, Nate Weitzer, Dan Shulman, Trevor Hass, and Charlie Wolfson also contributed.