Thanksgiving and football go hand in hand. And when it comes to high school football, nothing says Turkey Day quite like Needham and Wellesley.
The two schools will battled for the 124th time on Thursday, and it was Needham who came away with a convincing 42-18 win at Hunnewell Field. With the win, the Rockets clinched a playoff berth.
The Raiders fell to 2-9 with the loss.
After falling behind early, Wellesley got back into the game before Needham was able to pull away late. Going into the game, Needham coach David Duffy knew that despite Wellesley’s struggles this season, the rivalry game is never one to be taken lightly.
“Wellesley has struggled a bit this year, but we know they will come to play. The games are 10-minute quarters, so you know anything can happen,” Duffy told the Boston Herald earlier in the week. “We’ll be ready to play and if Wellesley beats us, then we don’t deserve to go to the playoffs.”
Wellesley head coach Bill Tracey, like Duffy, also experienced the rivalry as a player. And like Duffy, Tracey was ready to throw out the records coming in, encouraging his players to put forth a maximum effort, as it very well could be the biggest game of their lives.
“The way I am approaching this Thanksgiving is the way I approach every Thanksgiving, and that is like a Super Bowl game,” Tracey said. “It’s always been a big game because of the history and all of the hype that surrounds it.”
Thanks to Glen Magpiong for updating the Needham-Wellesley score during the game.