Wakefield, MA– For the first time since 2001, the Wakefield High School football team will be competing in a game after Thanksgiving. The Warriors clinched at least a share of the Middlesex League Small Championship last week with their win over Watertown. Should Wakefield win on Thanksgiving, they would clinch the title outright for the 3rd consecutive year. Either way, the winner of the Marblehead and Swampscott game awaits the Warriors in the postseason.
Before the postseason can begin, the Warriors have their annual clash with neighboring Melrose on Thanksgiving. The two teams will meet for the 97th time overall and 52nd time on Thanksgiving. The rivalry dates back to 1901 with Melrose holding the advantage in the series 51-39-6. However, since 1993 the Warriors are 16-1-1 against the Red Raiders.
Both teams comes into the matchup with identical 8-2 records. The Red Raiders cruised through the first half of the season with a 5-0 record before a 21-20 loss to Burlington and a 19-14 loss to Wilmington. After sluggish starts the past two seasons, Wakefield came out of the gates flying with an 7-1 record before a loss to Reading, 28-27. Wakefield’s other loss came earlier in the season against Lynn English, 21-6. Both of the Warrior’s losses come against playoff teams.
The old cliche of “throw the records out the window” on Thanksgiving has always held true in this rivalry. Melrose is playing for more than just pride this year. They are officially opening their state of the art turf facility which now makes Stoneham, Wilmington and Wakefield as the only Middlesex League schools without a turf field. The seniors are also trying to beat Wakefield for the first time in their careers. Wakefield is trying to secure an outright championship heading into Tuesday’s playoff game on a winning note.
Since taking over the program in 1997, Wakefield’s head coach, Mike Boyages sports a 12-1-1 record against his archrival. On the other side of Billy’s Roast Beef, Melrose coach, Tim Morris is 1-15-1. Both coaches look forward to Thursday’s game. Boyages was quoted as saying, “every year its big. We usually have great crowds and close games. I think it is great for both communities to come together like they do.” He continued, “the turkey always tastes better after a victory and we hope to keep the ball rolling this year.”
Kick-off is scheduled for 10:15AM at Fred Green Field in Melrose.