In a much anticipated Thanksgiving matchup, the Wildcats will head to their archrival Wayland for the annual Wayland-Weston Turkey Day Football Game. In response to the inclement weather on Thanksgiving Day, the game will be played at 6 pm on Wednesday, November 21.
In addition to the game’s tradition and rivalry, the seniors will be playing in their last high school football game. Senior captain Will Meikle believes that the day will hold sentimental value for players in the graduating class.
“I think what seniors will remember most thirty years from now will be just putting on pads and playing on the field with your best friends for the last time,” Meikle said.
The importance of the game to the Weston community has given junior captain and quarterback Jack Noonan great significance for this Thanksgiving tradition. Noonan’s biggest hope for the game is helping lead the Wildcats to a victory.
“The Thanksgiving game means a lot to me knowing that many people from the town come out to watch the game. It is also the last game of the season, so you always want to give everything you have,” Noonan said.
The game also has great significance for head coach Richard Brissette, who commented on the tradition.
“The northeast is the only part of U.S. that celebrates the Thanksgiving high school football tradition. It has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember,” Brissette said.
When asked about his team, Brissette mentioned the Wildcats’ resiliency.
“The team responds to adversity in a very positive way. The ability to move on from one play and really be ready for the next snap has grown from last season,” Brissette said.
Meikle has seen Weston’s resiliency help them in the past, remembering a game-winning drive where the Wildcats responded to late game adversity.
“On senior night versus Latin Academy, we were ahead by seven and the referees placed a number of penalties on our offense, which set us back tremendously. In order to score, we had to go thirty yards in only three plays,” Meikle said. “We marched down the field each play and capped off the drive with a Jack Noonan fifteen yard score. I feel that drive has been the epitome of our season.”
For the Thanksgiving game, Brissette knows that beating the 7-2 Wayland Warriors is no easy feat. He stated that, his team won’t only need to be resilient, but they will need to prepare and execute as well.
“[The] coaches will analyze Wayland film and look for areas to attack. We usually set the game plan around establishing the run,” Brisset added.
Brissette admitted that recently the rivalry has been a bit one-sided, but he stressed optimism for this year’s game.
“It’s been a while since we’ve beaten Wayland. But it’s a big rivalry. The players have a way to up their game for Thanksgiving.”