, Newburyport, MA


November 27, 2013

The start of another chapter

Port and Amesbury will continue one of state's longest rivalries

Tomorrow’s Thanksgiving Day football game promises to make for an interesting addition to the nearly century-long rivalry featuring the Clippers and the Indians of Amesbury High School.

While the first meeting between the two teams came in 1891, 90 games are recorded by both teams (Newburyport leading 47-37-6) while countless others were undocumented. Nonetheless, when the two teams face off tomorrow morning, a lasting tradition will be renewed for at least the 91st time.

The victor and the holder of the J. Walter Chase Trophy will not earn the Cape Ann League title as its has the past three seasons, for that honor has already been settled with Pentucket winning the CAL Kinney Division and Lynnfield winning the CAL Baker Division. For Newburyport and Triton, however, the inability to win the league championship on Thanksgiving does not subtract from the overall feel that the year’s annual big game presents.

“Thanksgiving is always the biggest game of the year, regardless of record,” Newburyport defensive coordinator Mike Smolski said.

Players, such as Amesbury quarterback Mac Short who is going into his third time playing on Thanksgiving, agree that this is no ordinary week.

“It’s much different,” Short said. “In the regular season, you get the thrill of playing in a game, but on Thanksgiving you take in a rivalry and you play against kids you’ve played against your whole life. You always look forward to playing on Thanksgiving.”

Newburyport is looking to rebound from last year’s disappointing nail-biter loss to Amesbury — a game decided by just a field goal. While the game last year was even from the get-go, this year’s contest promises to be similar. Newburyport enters Thanksgiving 5-5 while Amesbury holds a 4-6 record.

Though inconsistent at times, Amesbury’s offense has scored just under 20 points per game, even after scoring just 21 combined points through the first three games of the season.

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