Thanksgiving Means Turkey — And High School Football

Barnstable High will take on rival Falmouth High in the big Thanksgiving Day matchup.

Barnstable High will take on rival Falmouth High in the big Thanksgiving Day matchup. Photo by Sean Walsh

Before they sit down to enjoy the turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, scores of local high school athletes will work up an appetite on the football field Thursday, a tradition as popular as apple pie on Thanksgiving.

Although there are a few big games on the Cape Thursday, the marquee matchup is the one known simply as “The Game” – the yearly clash between Barnstable and Falmouth high schools. The Red Raiders and the Clippers have been doing battle since 1895 making it one of the longest rivalries in the state. The two schools have played each other on Thanksgiving every year since 1944.

This year’s game will be a good one with 7-3 Falmouth hoping to keep their impressive season going against a proud 4-6 Barnstable team, who will not go down without a fight. Falmouth Director of Athletics Kathleen Burke, for one, cannot wait for the game.

“We are very excited to host this year’s Thanksgiving Day Football game,” she says. “By our count, it will be the 129th football game between our two schools, the 89th on Thanksgiving, making it one of the longest lasting rivalries in the state.”

Burke said the game is still special to the players despite the fact that the two schools are no longer in the same athletic conference.

“We are looking forward to a competitive game this year and a chance to welcome back many alumni and their families to this annual event,” she said.

Barnstable High’s Athletic Director Scott Thomas agrees.

“I believe that it is safe to say that both teams are looking forward to an exciting and competitive game this year,” Thomas said. “This will be a great game.”

In addition to the Barnstable v. Falmouth matchup, there are other big Cape gridiron contests kicking off on Thanksgiving. The Mashpee Falcons (9-2) travel to Capt. Gerald F. DeConto Veterans Memorial Stadium in Sandwich to take on the Blue Knights (3-7) at 10 a.m. It is a renewing of a rivalry that played out between 1998-2003 and then again since 2010.

In other games, the Wareham Vikings (3-7) come over the bridge to take on the Bourne Canalmen (2-7). The Upper Cape Cod Tech Rams (6-4) travel to Harwich to take on the Cape Cod Tech Crusaders (1-8). The Nauset Warriors (1-9) head to Alan Carlsen Field in Yarmouth to face the Dennis-Yarmouth Dolphins (5-4). Finally the Monomoy Sharks (3-7) have the longest journey as they travel up to Kingston to go head to head with the Sacred Heart Fighting Saints (1-7) at William Hunt Memorial Field.

For those hearty souls ready to cheer on their favorite team, the weather looks like it might cooperate. The forecast is calling for a partly cloudy day with a little wind, and temperatures in the low to middle 50s. Perfect football weather and a perfect day to stuff yourself on first downs and second helpings.

By Christopher Setterlund

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