Traditional Thanksgiving Day football games will kick off across the state Thursday morning with mild temps making for a much better spectator experience compared to the record lows from a year ago.
As always, many of the oldest rivalries take center stage.
Wellesley leads Needham, 62-60-9, in the country’s s oldest noncontinous high school rivalry and Boston Latin looks for a sixth straight win over Boston English in America’s oldest continous rivalry.
Falmouth hosts Barnstable in the 130th edition of that rivalry, Winchester and Woburn meet for the 115th straight year, and Attleboro and North Attleborough prepare for their 99th meeting.
Marblehead hosts Swampscott in their 110th consecutive meeting, and Big Blue has some choices to make with the team gearing up for the D5 Super Bowl on Dec. 7 at Gillette Stadium. Several teams that are headed to Super Bowls may decide to rest starters on Thanksgiving, but D2 state title favorite Mansfield is reportedly going “all out” in its 88th meeting with Foxborough. Duxbury reportedly plans to rest its starters against Marshfield ahead of the D3 Super Bowl, a move that paid off in 2016 when the Dragons rolled Shewsbury, 40-7, for a state title.
Catholic Memorial and Melrose are headed to the state finals, but are respectively playing for outright league titles against BC High and Wakefield.
In total, there are 10 rematches on Thanksgiving between teams that played in the regular season, and Apponquet and Old Rochester meet for the third time this year after ORR knocked the Lakers out of the D6 South tournament in early November.
■ Lynn Classical at Lynn English (106th meeting): No other rivalry can match this proximity with players from the same town and even the same neighborhood squaring off for bragging rights. Classical leads the series, 55-41-9, but English has pitched a shutout in consecutive years. Pick: Lynn English.
■ Whitman-Hanson at Abington (109th meeting): It will be the 49th straight year Abington coach Jim Kelleher partcipates in this rivalry as a player or coach, so it would be stunning to see him rest any players ahead of Abington’s trip to the D7 Super Bowl, as the Green Wave looks to close a 60-45-3 deficit in this classic rivalry. Pick: Abington.
■ Woburn at Winchester (115th meeting): The Sachems are coming off their best season in over two decades and are looking to close the gap on Woburn’s 54-48-12 lead in the all-time series. Pick: Winchester .
■ Barnstable at Falmouth (130th meeting): The physical Red Raiders should be able to overwhelm the Clippers and deny them their 60th win in the 130th edition of this rivalry. Pick: Barnstable.
■ Needham at Wellesley (132nd meeting): While the Rockets have struggled during a 2-8 season, they will assuredly be charged up to face Wellesley. Pick: Wellesley.
■ Boston Latin vs. Boston English/New Mission (at Harvard, 133rd meeting ): It’s been closer in recent years, but Latin has won 20 of the last 21 meetings to take a commanding 82-37-13 lead, and the Wolfpack should triumph again at Harvard Stadium. Pick: Boston Latin.
■ Revere at Winthrop (91st meeting): After falling one game short of the program’s first Super Bowl appearance since 1973, the Patriots can gain some consolation by beating Winthrop for the sixth time this decade and posting the first 10-win season in program history. Pick: Revere.
■ Stoughton at Canton (94th meeting): These Hockomock League foes met in the regular season and Canton won, 10-0, for one of its four shutouts this year. Pick: Canton.
■ BC High at Catholic Memorial (47th meeting): The Knights look to secure their first outright Catholic Conference title in 30 years and close the Eagles’ 37-18-1 lead in Thanksgiving matchups. Pick: Catholic Memorial.