Turkey Day football rules the roost
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
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