Those of you who know me, know that I’m a traditionalist when it comes to high school football. And, to me, there’s no better tradition than that of Turkey Day high school football, which, for the most part, is a northeast tradition. Of course, that should be the case, considering where Thanksgiving started.
One year, I WILL get to Plymouth, Massachusetts to check-out Plymouth North vs. Plymouth South in the Land of the Pilgrims. While the rivalry isn’t the oldest — Thursday’s game marks the 20th meeting between the two — it is played in the community where it all began in 1621 as the Pilgrims celebrated their first harvest in the New World.
There was no high school football on that day in 1621, but Massachusetts is home to some the oldest Thanksgiving Day high school football games in the country and also the first one — Needham vs. Wellesley.
This year, Needham vs. Wellesley and Boston English vs. Boston Latin, two of the oldest rivalries in America are being played at Fenway Park, home of Major League Baseball’s Boston Red Sox. Needham vs. Wellesley is the oldest public school rivalry game in America, with the first contest being play in 1882 on Thanksgiving morning at Morton Field. Thursday’s game marks the 128th between the two.
While Norwich Free Academy and New London in Connecticut didn’t start playing on Thanksgiving, America’s most played rivalry is now played on Turkey Day. Thursday’s game marks the 154th game between the two that played the country’s first-ever high school football game on May 12, 1875.
In 2009, High School Football America traveled to the two Connecticut towns that are just 15 miles apart to find-out about the rivalry. You can watch our videos from that trip below.
While, I could go on-and-on about Turkey Day games, below is a graphic put together by DMi Partners, a marketing firm in Philadelphia, that highlights the great Turkey Day rivalries.
In closing, I’m thankful on this day for all of you that take the time throughout the year to visit our website, which we’ll give thanks for throughout the day.