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Nipmuc, BVT Cancel Thanksgiving Football Game


The annual Thanksgiving Day football game between Nipmuc and Blackstone Valley Tech was called off last week, with the two schools citing the weather, field conditions and both teams' impending Super Bowl matchups as reasons for canceling the Turkey Day rivalry.
"After careful consideration by administration, both schools elected to forego this year's Thanksgiving game," read a joint statement by Nipmuc Athletic Director Chris Schmidt and Valley Tech Athletic Director Michelle Denise. "This difficult decision was based a shared concern for the safety of our student-athletes and fans."
The statement listed three factors behind cancelling the game. Each of the schools' fields were unplayable, with Nipmuc's consisting of "ice over mud" and BVT's being "frozen solid and rock hard," the schools said. The statement also cited the extreme cold that led to numerous schools around the state moving their Thanksgiving Day games to Wednesday night. Another factor, the schools acknowledged, is the fact that BVT and Nipmuc are slated to play Saturday at Gillette Stadium in the Division 7 and Division 5 Super Bowl games, respectively.
"Both teams share concern of the potential toll a game in these conditions would take on two teams who will be playing for a State Championship," the statement reads.
The decision was met with mixed reactions on social media. Some decried the cancelation as putting the goal of winning a Super Bowl ahead of the decade-old holiday tradition. Others expressed frustration over the new playoff format, which puts schools in the untenable position of having to play a regular season game in the middle of the playoffs.
Some people praised the schools for putting player safety first, as well as sacrificing the lucrative Thanksgiving Day game for the greater goal of making history and winning a state title. This is not the first time the Super Bowls and the quirky schedule have impacted the rivalry. Valley Tech sat many of its starters last Thanksgiving and Nipmuc rolled to a convincing win with the Beavers slated to play in the 2017 Super Bowl.
"We recognize the enjoyment that fans and players experience from both sides of Pleasant Street in playing in this game but we feel making this determination is in the best interest of both programs," the schools said. We are excited for the opportunity that both programs have in front of them, and we look forward to rooting each other on in next Saturday's MIAA State Championship games at Gillette Stadium."




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