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It’s rivalry season: 20 Thanksgiving football games to watch, plus predictions

Thanksgiving high school football traditions
WATCH: Assistant sports editor Craig Larson explains what makes local rivalries so special.

Before next week’s eight Super Bowls at Gillette Stadium, Massachusetts high school football focuses on Thanksgiving rivalry matchups across the state.

There are league title implications, milestones to reach, and rivalry records to update with seniors looking to go out on top with a win.

The action begins Tuesday night with a doubleheader at Fenway Park, followed by two more Fenway games on Wednesday. A handful of schools play Wednesday night, including a new rivalry between Everett and St. Mary’s, then most of the action kicks off in the traditional time slot of 10 a.m. Thursday morning.


Here are the picks for the top matchups on the menu:

No. 3 King Philip vs. Franklin (at Fenway Park): There are no weaknesses on this King Philip roster and the Warriors are looking to avenge consecutive losses to Franklin on Thanksgiving. Pick: KING PHILIP.

Billerica vs. Chelmsford (at Fenway Park): Chelmsford is a young team that started to hit its stride down the stretch, and Billerica is dealing with a few key injuries. Pick: BILLERICA.

St. Mary’s at Everett: The quest for a consistent Thanksgiving opponent for Everett carries on, with St. Mary’s only a year removed from a D6 Super Bowl and game for a holiday upset. Pick: EVERETT.

No. 1 St. John’s Prep at No. 2 Xaverian: This is the Division 1 Super Bowl matchup, but don’t expect either team to hold back with Prep looking to clinch an outright Catholic Conference crown and Xaverian looking to snag a share. Pick: ST. JOHN’S PREP.

No. 4 Marshfield at No. 8 Duxbury: Marshfield is coming off an upset win over Catholic Memorial to reach the Division 2 Super Bowl and Duxbury is headed to a third straight D4 Super Bowl. The Patriot League Keenan title is on the line in this rivalry. Pick: MARSHFIELD.


No. 9 Foxborough at Mansfield: Veterans from both towns will be honored along with Foxborough’s trio of seniors, who all lost their fathers over the past few years. Foxborough is looking to keep the momentum going ahead of a Division 5 Super Bowl matchup with Hanover. Pick: FOXBOROUGH.

Abington at Whitman-Hanson: Jim Kelliher will coach his 50th and final Thanksgiving game, and the Green Wave will do everything they can to send their beloved mentor home a winner. Pick: ABINGTON.

Melrose at Wakefield: Melrose coach Tim Morris is seeking his 200th career win in the 117th installment. Pick: WAKEFIELD.

Newburyport at Amesbury: Lynnfield is in position to clinch the Cape Ann League with a win over North Reading, but these rivals should still be gunning for a share of the title in their 100th meeting. Pick: AMESBURY.

No. 7 Needham at Wellesley: Needham came a few plays short of a Division 1 Super Bowl appearance and will look to win a share of the Bay State title by grabbing another win in the 136th installment. Pick: NEEDHAM.

No. 12 Milton at Braintree: Milton is Super Bowl bound for a second straight year and looks to improve on a 50-41-1 record against Braintree. Pick: MILTON.

No. 10 Walpole at Weymouth: We have another Bay State Conference clash with league title implications down in Weymouth. Walpole holds a 21-5 lead. Pick: WALPOLE.

Winchester at Woburn: The 117th installment comes with Middlesex League Liberty title implications. Pick: WINCHESTER.


North Attleborough at Attleboro: Michael Strachan is now on the other side of this rivalry as the coach of a talented North Attleborough squad. Pick: NORTH ATTLEBOROUGH.

Winthrop at Revere: Jim Lederman (’60), the voice of the Vikings, will broadcast his 25th Thanksgiving game as Winthrop looks to build on a 57-33-1 lead against the Patriots. Pick: WINTHROP.

No. 6 Hanover at Norwell: Coming off a narrow win over Danvers in the Division 5 semifinals, Hanover might elect to rest a few banged up players ahead of its Super Bowl appearance. Pick: NORWELL.

No. 5 Catholic Memorial at BC High: The Knights look to bounce back from a state semifinal loss by winning the 60th installment of the series. Pick: CATHOLIC MEMORIAL.

Marblehead at Swampscott: Annually, one of the biggest crowds on Thanksgiving morning can be found in this border clash on the North Shore. Pick: MARBLEHEAD.

Fairhaven at Dartmouth: This series is razor close, with Fairhaven holding a 44-42-4 lead. Justin Marques and Co. will look for another win ahead of their Division 6 Super Bowl appearance. Pick: DARTMOUTH.

Boston Latin at English High: This is the 136th installment of what was the longest continuous rivalry in the United States prior to the 2020 cancellation of the football season. Pick: BOSTON LATIN.