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Thanksgiving Football Has More Meaning


This Year
Blackstone Valley Tech head football coach Jim Archibald figures this is the first season since 2016 in which both his team and cross-street rival Nipmuc will be fully invested in the Thanksgiving Day rivalry.
Over the past few seasons, the Turkey Day showdown has been diminished, and was scrapped
all together in 2018, as the two programs have been
in the mix for state championships. A year ago, the combination of cold weather and both the Beavers
and Warriors being Super Bowl bound led to the cancellation. But the matchup is back this year and will be the season finale for both programs.
"Thanksgiving is always special, there's just been some road blocks for both teams the past couple of years," Archibald said. Valley Tech comes into the annual game 8-2 after losing in the Central Mass.
title game. Nipmuc enters at 3-7, having dealt with an injury-ravaged season. "This is the first time in about four years that, for both teams, this is it," said Nipmuc head coach Dave Tupper. "So this should be good. This is what Thanksgiving should be."
It's cliché to say it, but both coaches agreed this game is one where the records can be thrown out. The two teams are filled with Mendon and Upton players who know each other very well. While Valley Tech may be
a favorite on paper, the coaching staff is hardly taking
the game for granted.
"This is a rivalry game and in rivalry games,
anything can happen," Archibald said. "We have a ton of respect for them."
Tupper echoed the respect for the Beavers after yet another strong season. "They are just a great team and extremely well coached," he said. "We went to camp with them so we knew they had talent. They have a good scheme offensively and defensively."
Tupper said he was most impressed with the way the BVT defensive players "fly to the ball."
"I am not sure I have seen a team that pursues like that," he said.
Thursday's holiday game marks the final time
most of the seniors on both teams will take the field. The coaches said this rivalry is particularly special because the careers that will come to an end started by playing with and against each other in the towns youth leagues.
And, without a title game to follow, the stakes are high this year. "It's a great opportunity," Tupper said. "Win Thursday and we can forget about everything else, the overtime loss, the one- point losses, the injuries. If we went in Thursday and won, it would make the whole season."




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