Arguably the biggest event of the high school calendar year, the Thanksgiving Day football game has long captured the hearts and minds of many players and supporters throughout the years. What makes a meeting of two teams extra special is when there is a bit of history and old rivalry to create a spark between the teams and fans. Here are the top 5 rivalries.
#5 Saint Ignatius College Preparatory vs. Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory
San Francisco, CA
This rivalry dates back to a rugby game in 1893, which led to the establishment of the Bruce-Mahoney Trophy in 1947. The trophy is the most sought-after piece of silverware in the sporting year. The schools also play each other in basketball and baseball, and the trophy goes to whoever wins two out of the of the first league meeting of these three sports. It is the oldest high school rivalry west of the Rockies and one of the oldest Catholic school rivalries in the country.
#4 Green Bay East High School vs. Green Bay West High School
Green Bay, WI
From the oldest rivalry in Tennessee to the oldest rivalry in Wisconsin. The first unofficial game took place in 1895. The early games between these two football stalwarts used to attract massive fans, occasionally even more fans than Green Bay Packers games, which would have enjoyed enormous crowds at the time. The teams celebrated 100 years of football competition in 2005. At this game, East won 56-8. Green Bay West’s school’s mascot is the Green Bay Wildcat and is responsible for some of the most entertaining displays during the intervals.
#3 Baylor School vs. The McCallie School
The first game between these two teams was in 1905, making it the oldest rivalry in Tennessee. The rivalry was canceled in 1940, but promptly picked up again in 1971. McCallie holds the record with eleven straight wins. Their last win was in 2008. In 2009, Baylor defeated McCallie, breaking their winning streak. This is often referred to as the "cross-river" rivalry because the two schools are separated by the Tennessee river. For both schools this is the homecoming game, regularly attracting up to 10,000 people.
#2 Sherman High School vs. Denison High School
These teams first met in 1906. The "Battle of the Ax", which happens every year is the oldest continual high school football rivalry in Texas. There have only been five years during which the game was not played, the majority of which were during the First World War. The Texas schools pride themselves in a full house at every Thanksgiving match, with supporters painted in team colors and numerous mascots parading onto the field.
#1 Easton High School vs. P'burg High School
Easton, Pennsylvania (Lafayette College Stadium)
Easton and Phillipsburg are long-term rivals who enjoy this great sporting contest year after year. The two Delaware towns are blue-collar to the core, and their love of football is strongly rooted in their history. Underlining this fiery rivalry (which has endured for nearly 100 years), is a deep mutual respect, for each other and for the game. Generation after generation will harken back to the final that tied in ’93, and the competitive excitement in the air when these two teams meet is matched only by the traditional bonfires which are lit at Easton the night before the final each year. The game draws thousands upon thousands of fans and is often televised.
No matter which school you’re rooting for this Thanksgiving, take the time to be aware of the rich history that exists between each high school team, and you’re bound to have even more of a ball (excuse the pun!) at what is a truly terrific seasonal sporting event that will go on for generations to come.