In my 38 years of covering Middlesex League football in this area I can’t remember a Thanksgiving with so many statistical milestones on the line.
Reading freshman QB James Murphy has two school records at the ready to shatter (season TDs, season yardage) while a host of rushers have 1000-yard seasons in sight: Winchester’s (Touchdown) Tommy Degnan and Jimmy Gibbons, Woburn’s Symon Sathler and Reading’s Danny (Playoff) DiMare.
And I am sure I may be missing others with other categories but those are just the “sexy” ones that will hold my interest prior to dinner time.
So Happy Thanksgiving everyone as we cap off another high school season on Thursday. Hey, at least the weather will be much warmer than last year where it was 16 degrees at kickoff.
All games kick off at 10:15 a.m.
Here are the games we care about:
Stoneham at Reading — This is a man-up program game with no excuses to fall back on. Neither of these programs has a Super Bowl to play post-Thanksgiving so there are no distractions. Each team should be their best in this one.
The Spartans have had a nice resurgence under coach Bob Almeida and have been able to look 0-1-8-6-7 right in the eye in recent years. And if it wasn’t for Bishop Fenwick (which beat them twice), Stoneham would be headed to another Super Bowl.
Reading is at home and should be focused and ready to go. Don’t give John Fiore and David Blanchard extra time to scheme defensively because they will make the most of it. Time works in Reading’s favor.
Think the playmakers the Rockets have in Harrigan, DuRoss, Barboza, DiMare and Bates works in their favor.
Reading 26, Stoneham 22
Woburn at Winchester — Some people in Woburn asked me if Winchester’s heartbreaking loss in the D-3 North sectional title game at Tewksbury will carry over and maybe the Wu will spring the upset.
High school kids get over things very fast and this is a special Winchester team. Was surprised, but not shocked to learn, that Degnan has already passed for 1000 yards on the season and can rush for a grand with a typical performance against the Tanners. Interesting.
Gibbons, if healthy, could also join him in eclipsing 1000 yards.
Another thing was surprised to learn is the Sachems are also very young. They will trot out more underclassmen as starters in both units than seniors.
Woburn has slowly gotten healthier and has figured a few things out the past three weeks as it won three straight in non-playoff games. But now the Wu has a big boy game in Winchester so ...
Winchester 27, Woburn 13
Lexington at Burlington — This could be the highest scoring game of the day — at least locally.
Mason Hatfield is a high school version of the Ravens’ Lamar Jackson with his speed and shiftiness.
Due to their injuries, the Red Devils have had trouble stopping good offenses and Lex can hit you quick with its hurry-up offense.
I also expect Burlington QB Khyle Pena won’t call it a career without his best effort of the year.
This could be a fun one.
Lexington 38, Burlington 25
Last Week: 2-2. Season: 24-12.
(Steve Algeri's picks appear during the high school football season.)