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Turkey Day football rules the roost

Written by: on Wednesday, November 26th, 2008. Follow Joe Stokes on Twitter.


By Joe Stokes

 While the PIAA playoffs are red hot, many true blue high school football fans will be flocking to their traditional Thanksgiving Day rivalry games this Thursday morning. Anyone that has played or watched these contests must agree they are special. Many of these contests have been played for fifty years and a few one hundred years is on the horizon.

 One such rivalry features the Upper Darby Royals hosting the Haverford Fords for the 87th version of The Turkey Bowl which started in 1921. Since this tradition began in the roaring 20’s Upper Darby leads the series 41-39-6. This years contest should be as close as the series record with both squads entering the game with regular season records of 6-5. Haverford has won the last two contests and had hoped to be a playoff contender in 2008. While they may not be happy with this season’s performance a win over the Royals may well make up for some of the disappointment.

 Prediction:    Haverford  24  Upper Darby  21

 Another great Thanksgiving Day tradition has been interrupted the last two years while Ridley and Interboro chased after playoff dreams. These two teams have battled it out 41 times since 1965. Ridley leads the series 31-10. However Interboro is 8-3 over Ridley since 1995. Local fans really pack the house for this contest so get there early for a good seat. John Waller will be coaching his last game for Ridley and his team would love to reward him with a final game victory.

 Prediction:    Ridley  28  Interboro  20

 It is great to see that many of these schools have not lost the importance of these traditional contests. To many it is the only chance they get to see their old school friends and some great high school football. Hope you can get out to see a game near you before that great family dinner.

 Now we get to this weekend’s clash of the football titans in some great playoff action. The top ranked teams on Ed Thomas’ Southeastern Pa Top Ten faced off last week with the higher rated teams winning most of the contests. One exception was LaSalle’s loss to Philadelphia Public League Champion George Washington 24-13. While this was a shock to many after viewing the game it should not have been as GW showed how talent and discipline can overcome expectations.

 Over the last two seasons a little bit of observation and a lot of luck have allowed this writer a prediction record of 105-36. This season has been a little tough but a 44-21 prediction record going into the fourteenth week is OK given how closely matched these football programs have become.

 Last weekend Neshaminy, North Penn and Wilson West Lawn all won as predicted while LaSalle and Upper Moreland did not come through against very tough opponents.

 The North Penn Knights were once again slow to start but once they warmed up they are impossible to stop. With Ronnie Akins and Tyler Smith in the backfield for the Knights, Downingtown West was just worn down in the second half in a 51-21 loss. The District One final takes place this Friday night with Neshaminy next in line. The Redskins fought their way over a stubborn Garnet Valley squad last week but won’t survive past North Penn. This contest is scheduled for live TV broadcast on Comcast Channel CN 8 locally on Friday night.

 Prediction:   North Penn  31  Neshaminy  17

 Another intriguing contest for area fans is the AA playoff showdown between District Two champion Dunmore and Philadelphia Catholic League power house West Catholic.

This game features an experienced Dunmore squad that made it to the AA state final last year against a fast and talented West Catholic team that barely lost to big school Catholic League Champion LaSalle. My bet is experience rules at Northeast High on Friday night

 Prediction:    Dunmore  28  West Catholic  27

 Here is the rest of the fearless forecast:

 Prediction:    Archbishop Wood  35  WC Rustin  19

Follow on Twitter @EPAFootball

Leave a Reply

12 Responses to “Turkey Day football rules the roost”

  1. Woodman says:

    Thanks and I totally agree!

  2. WCR says:

    Yup, congrats and good luck. I’m sure that Rustin is just as proud to put a team up here in its third year of existence.

  3. Woodman says:

    First of all, I am not here to say, “I told you so”. I want to give Rondell White his props, he played very hard and deserved better. I just hope that NOW, after this win, WOOD will get the respect they are due. These kids are playing so a team as there can be in the state. I am not saying they can’t be beaten but it will take a great team, playing great football to do it. I am very proud of the Philadelphia Catholic League for putting 2 teams in the state semifinals in our 1st year participating.

  4. Brian says:

    I hear ya brother….enjoy the Wood/Rustin game….hopefully you get to see a good one. I’m travelling from Chester County to Warminster to see the NP/Neshaminy game….don’t care who wins, just so its a good game. It will probably be my last game until Hershey weekend.

  5. Woodman says:

    If I had a million dollars I wouldn’t be here discussing these issues!!! LOL

  6. Brian says: mention that D1 AAA is having a down year. The main reason is that D1 AAA lost 2 of their powerhouses in the reclassification from AAA to AAAA (Garnet Valley and Unionville). If GV was AAA this year, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Wood/Rustin should be a good game, however, I will be heading to North Penn/Neshaminy.

  7. Woodman says:

    WCR, good luck tomorrow. it has been fun going back and forth all week. You are a good sport!!

  8. WCR says:

    Joe, thanks for your explanation.
    Woodman, we’ll see tomorrow and see which district is better.

  9. Woodman says:


    To me it is clear that D1 is having an overall down year in AAA. Upper Moreland is less than stellar and they won 11 or 12 games and beat Rustin. Everyone and everything has down times. These D1 teams that Rustin is hanging its hat on are living on their reputation of past years. Most of the teams that Rustin beat in D1 AAA have 3 or fewer wins. The other decent teams all beat up on the same teams to inflate their records. No one really knows if any of them are actually any good.

    We will find out tomorrow night!!!!!!

  10. Joe Stokes says:

    Thanks for your comments

    Have senn Rustin and they look great. Wood offense has been consistant and that is how they could reach 35 points.

    Should be a great game.

    Here are some points a friend of mine put together on the two teams

    Bayard Rustin D1, 11-1 vs Archbishop Wood D12, 9-2

    Rustin notes:
    Lost to Upper Moreland (10-2) 13-7, 2 ot
    Signature win, * Henderson (6-5) 24-13. Playoff wins Strath Haven (7-4) 27-14, Pottsgrove (10-2) 21-13, Upper Moreland (10-2) 21-14
    * Henderson 5-1 at time, just upset Downingtown West 13-7
    Average score all games 25-8

    Archbishop Wood notes:
    Lost to Pennridge (6-5) 43-42, West Catholic (12-1) 28-17
    Signature win, North Catholic (6-4) 27-0 (What happened to North?)
    Playoff wins Lansdale Catholic (4-6) 27-0, Conwell Egan (7-4) 44-14, Dobbins (7-4) 56-7
    Average score all games 36-11

  11. WCR says:

    Again, someone who has not seen Rustin play this year. Come on Joe, you usually are solid with your picks, but lately you’ve been trailing and making bad predictions. Seriously if you think any team can score 35 points on Rustin’s defense, you should go back to predicting scores for middle schools. The most points Rustin has ever given up is 14, and it will still be that after this week.

  12. Woodman says:

    Finally, someone who has possibly seen wood play this year. However, I do question the score for the West Catholic game. If Dunmore holds them to 27 I will be shocked. They speed is unbelievable and they play good defense. They may have experience but man, they are really good!!!!