First and Fisher: Turkey Day High School Football 1971; The Tradition begins

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I write it every year — Turkey Day high school football is one of my favorite things in this great sport!

I also usually type that if you live outside of the northeastern part of this great country, you probably can’t appreciate Thanksgiving Day high school football.

As a kid, Thanksgiving meant three things: Wilson/Nazareth football in the morning; Easton/Phillipsburg football in the afternoon; and then family and turkey in the early evening.

In eastern Pennsylvania, I was blessed to be able to catch a couple of games before stuffing myself with awesome family cooking. To be specific, I grew-up in the Lehigh Valley, home to national brands like Bethlehem Steel, Mack Trucks, Crayola Crayons and Dixie Cups.

My alma mater, Wilson High School still sits in the shadow of the giant Dixie Cup that sits atop the long abandoned Dixie Cup plant.

Smith Field at Wilson High School in Easton, Pennsylvania

Like hundreds of schools in the northeast, Wilson would play then arch-rival Nazareth on Thanksgiving morning.

My first Wilson/Nazareth game was in 1971 at Lehigh University’s Taylor Stadium. Actually, the first game wasn’t played on Thanksgiving morning because of a snowstorm. It was actually played on Saturday, November 27.

To this day, that game may have set the tone for High School Football America. It was cold. Snow was still on the field and there was mud everywhere as the game played on.

The best part was my team, the Warriors, snapped a four-game losing streak to the Blue Eagles with a 15-6 win.

28 Nov 1971, Sun The Morning Call (Allentown, Pennsylvania) Newspapers.com

Unfortunately, the Wilson/Nazareth Thanksgiving Day tradition ended four years later after 49 Turkey Day meetings. To brag a bit, Wilson led the Thanksgiving Day games 24-21 with four ties.

However, getting back to 1971, I can honestly say that I remember sitting in those ice-cold cement bleachers that day thinking that one day I would cover sports for a living. That came three years after, at the age of 8-years old, I realized that I sports journalism was a job that a person got paid to do.

To this day, I say, “God put me on this earth to cover the great sport of high school football.”

So on this Thanksgiving, I want to say thank you to everyone that has ever visited High School Football America for their high school football news.

I want to say thanks to HSFA co-founder Trish Hoffman, who believed enough in my dream to become the first investor by taking money out of her retirement account.

I’m blessed by her belief in me and we’re blessed to be able to do what we do day-in and day-out.

We hope everyone has a great day and later in the day, we’ll feature the outcome of some of America’s greatest Turkey Day rivalries.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Trish and Jeff

Wilson/Nazareth Turkey Day Results

1926 – Wilson 10 Nazareth 0

1928 – Wilson 19 Nazareth 0

1929 – Wilson 15 Nazareth 0

1930 – Nazareth 0 Wilson 0 (tie)

1931 – Wilson 26 Nazareth 0

1932 – Nazareth 19 Wilson 0

1933 – Nazareth 40 Wilson 0

1934 – Nazareth 19 Wilson 0

1935 – Nazareth 33 Wilson 0

1936 – Wilson 8 Nazareth 0

1937 – Nazareth 0 Wilson 0 (tie)

1938 – Nazareth 38 Wilson 0

1939 – Wilson 19 Nazareth 13

1940 – Wilson 7 Nazareth 0

1941 – Nazareth 34 Wilson 6

1942 – Nazareth 20 Wilson 0

1943 – Wilson 18 Nazareth 6

1944 – Nazareth 6 Wilson 0

1945 – Nazareth 6 Wilson 0

1946 – Nazareth 31 Wilson 0

1947 – Nazareth 13 Wilson 6

1948 – Wilson 34 Nazareth 0

1949 – Nazareth 7 Wilson 7 (tie)

1950 – Nazareth 20 Wilson 7

1951 – Nazareth 41 Wilson 0

1952 – Wilson 27 Nazareth 6

1953 – Wilson 20 Nazareth 20 (tie)

1954 – Wilson 25 Nazareth 0

1955 – Nazareth 27 Wilson 7

1956 – Nazareth 13 Wilson 0

1957 – Nazareth 14 Wilson 6

1958 – Wilson 20 Nazareth 6

1959 – Nazareth 20 Wilson 0

1960 – Wilson 33 Nazareth 14

1961 – Nazareth 6 Wilson 0

1962 – Wilson 6 Nazareth 0

1963 – Wilson 26 Nazareth 13

1964 – Nazareth 6 Wilson 0

1965 – Nazareth 7 Wilson 6

1966 – Wilson 20 Nazareth 13

1967 – Nazareth 20 Wilson 6

1968 – Nazareth 26 Wilson 7

1969 – Nazareth 8 Wilson 0

1970 – Nazareth 21 Wilson 8

1971 – Wilson 15 Nazareth 6

1972 – Wilson 24 Nazareth 0

1973 – Wilson 6 Nazareth 0

1974 – Nazareth 18 Wilson 8

1975 – Nazareth 8 Wilson 6

Wilson 24 wins, Nazareth 21 wins, 4 ties

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About the Author

Jeff Fisher
Jeff is an award-winning journalist and expert in the field of high school sports, underscored with his appearance on CNBC in 2010 to talk about the big business of high school football in America. Jeff turned to his passion for high school football into an entrepreneurial venture called High School Football America, a digital media company focused on producing original high school sports content for radio, television and the internet. Jeff is co-founder and editor-in-chief of High School Football America, which is a media partner with USA TODAY High School Sports.