By William Yeomans
There’s nothing like waking up to the smell of good food and then heading off to your school’s football game on Thanksgiving Day. Here at North, there’s a storied game between the Rocketeers and Attleboro. People from all over town usually make it out to the game as it’s one of the most highly-attended games of the year. This year’s will be the 99th annual meeting between the two and is shaping up to be a good game.
Last year, the game was played at Attleboro High School in temperatures that reached a low of 12 degrees Fahrenheit, with winds near 20 mph according to accuweather.com. When asking a former player, Brett Labonte how the conditions were for a football game, he responded, “Even though it didn’t snow that could have been the coldest I’ve ever been and not just in a football game.”
Despite the cold, North was able to conquer the Bombardiers with a score of 20-7, according to SunChronicle.com. This was with the help of an unlikely surprise. Quarterback and senior captain Nick Raneri was injured in their previous game and the coach looked to their freshman team superstar, Tyler Demattio. Tyler became one of only three freshmen to ever make a mark in a Thanksgiving Day game for North. One of the others was Anthony Sherman, who now plays in the NFL for the Kansas City Chiefs.
Tyler did not disappoint. According to the Sun Chronicle, his first ever career pass was an 85-yard touchdown pass and everyone knew he was going to be special. He kept up this performance throughout the game as he ran for another 90-yard touchdown. His performance awarded him the L.G. Balfour Offensive MVP trophy for the game. When I talked to him about the game, he said it was probably his favorite sports moment of his lifetime.
The big story of this year may be the absence of the sophomore. In last Friday’s game against Stoughton, he suffered a concussion and is questionable to play in the coveted Thanksgiving day game. I was able to talk to his brother Andy who said, “Tyler loves the Thanksgiving game and he will be very disappointed if he can’t play.”
Hopefully, Tyler will be healthy for the game, but if not backup quarterback Casey Poirier will have to step in and maybe even put up the same performance Tyler did last year. North will be looking for their star players in Tommy Whalen, Tom O’Neill, Ethan Friberg, and Ethan Mottinger to thwart the Bombardiers because both teams are shaping up to be a good matchup. North (2-5) has had an upsetting season, but Attleboro (3-5) has been on par with an equally poor record.
This year the game will be taking place at Community Field in North Attleboro as it was held at Attleboro last year. This will be a treat to the North players and fans as they have only played once at the beloved field this season. The forecast is showing a much more forgiving temperature at a low of 33 degrees Fahrenheit and a high of 49.
The 99th annual North Attleboro vs. Attleboro Thanksgiving day football game is shaping up to be one for the books. The game will be played at noon on November 28 and tickets will be available the week before and the week of.