Thanksgiving morning will mark the 130th meeting between the Malden and Medford football teams, one of the longest running football rivalries in the country. That means that no matter what the circumstances of the two teams are (both have struggled this year), the Thanksgiving Day game is always one that bears watching.
“It’s always a tough game,” said Malden coach Bill Manchester. “The rivalry here is so ingrained in the community and that’s what makes it so intense. We were fortunate enough to win it last year, and hopefully we can work hard and win it again this year.”
“It’s a phenomenal time and my favorite time of year,” Medford coach Jason Nascimento. “People ask me what I like most about the season, and I say it’s November. The weather starts changing, and then we have this phenomenal rivalry at the end of the year.”
It’s been a long road for Malden since last year’s 41-18 victory over Medford last Thanksgiving. That was the last game that the Golden Tornadoes won, as Malden struggled to an 0-10 record with a roster full of underclassmen this year.
“We have a lot of young guys on the team, but they work hard,” Manchester said. “It’s been a growing and a learning process for sure, but now we can put all of our focus and effort into winning this game and ending the year on a high note.”
Medford didn’t fare much better this year, currently sitting at 1-9. The Mustangs’ lone win came back in mid-September over Winthrop, but that’s all in the past.
“There’s year both teams are struggling, there’s been years where one team is doing better than the other, but it doesn’t matter,” Nascimento said. “With this new playoff system, a lot of people thought these players were going to quit, but with these two programs. They battle every single week, trying to get better. Both teams continue to improve and they just lay it all out there Thanksgiving Day.”
Manchester shares his counterpart’s mindset.
“Your situation does not control your effort,” Manchester said. “It doesn’t matter what the scoreboard says. And going on in life it doesn’t matter if you’re the low man on the totem pole, in the middle, or at the top, you’re still going to work hard. Hopefully we can continue to make the city of Malden proud and keep working on this rivalry.”
Malden and Medford will clash for the 130th time at 10 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning at Hormel Stadium in Medford.
Mystic Valley will also play Thanksgiving, heading to Lexington to take on Minuteman at 10 a.m. The Eagles have had an up-and-down season, but won its final regular season against Marian, 30-24. It’s the first rivalry game for Jim DeMartino, Mystic Valley’s first-year coach.