Click to Learn More
Milford Town Crier


Town Crier Publication Dates
Town Crier Newspaper Advertising Rates

Town Crier Publications

Promote Your Page Too

Sports Page


Sports Flash

The Original Thanksgiving Day Rivalry
This Thanksgiving, Milford and Shrewsbury clashed for the 36th time on the gridiron. The two towns and schools of comparable size and makeup have formed a solid rivalry. Their most intense and meaningful game, however, pales in comparison to Milford High's first Thanksgiving rival.
Milford and St. Mary's only met seven times in football, and all were Milford victories, but for the better part of a decade one game defined a season for these two schools. "It was like we had two different seasons," said Allen Consigli, who played for St. Mary's. "There was the regular season, and then there was Milford." "You were playing against your friends," said Milford High alumnus Lenny Morcone. "Being a town rivalry, it was always a big deal."
Bob Pagnini brought football to St. Mary's in 1966, and the first match-up with Milford high came the following Thanksgiving. Each year, the two teams met at Fino Field and the Scarlet Hawks would walk down the hill from the old high school building. Clad in their red and white and lined up four or five players across, the Milford players clapped and slapped their pads in unison as they marched down to meet their cross town rivals. "You'd hear it for about five minutes," said former St. Mary's Captain Mike Cullen. "It was like something out of a gladiator movie; 'here they come, the big, bad Scarlet Hawks.'"
And while today's Thanksgiving Day match-ups have good attendance with many alumni making their way back to town for the holiday, Milford High and St. Mary's took it to another level. "People would start walking down around 8 a.m. for the 10 a.m. game," said Cullen. "I remember my senior year there must have been 6,000 people there. I thought 'I'm glad I'm on the field, otherwise I wouldn't be able to see the game.'" "Everyone would go to the game," added Consigli. "You got there and people were lined several deep in every spot around the field."
The teams typically had two weeks to get ready for the game, but the buildup started long before. St. Mary's played in Friday nights and Milford on Saturday afternoons, so players would often scout each other's games.
Before the game, Milford High held a bonfire in the parking lot of the old high school and St. Mary's put its rally together on the Fino Field annex. It was the biggest event in the town, the football game that meant more to the teams, the students, the fans, the parents, and the community, than any other. For seven straight seasons, Milford High, with its vastly superior numbers, came out on top, but that doesn't mean St. Mary's didn't put up a fight.
During Cullen's senior year, St, Mary's had a 6-0 halftime lead that slipped away. Morcone was co-captain of the Milford squad and admitted the Hawks felt the heat, saying, "There was a lot of pressure because a loss would mean we were the first team to lose to St. Mary's, and you did not want that distinction."
Another close game was in 1969. St. Mary's held the lead into the fourth quarter, when a roughing the passer call and a subsequent unsportsmanlike conduct penalty gave Milford great field position and led to the winning score. Cullen said there are still teammates of the guilty player who don't talk to him.
All of the participants noted the rivalry was better when Dick Corbin was the Milford High head coach. Corbin's coaching prowess and influence is likely one of the reasons why the Hawks beat St. Mary's each year until the Catholic school closed in 1974. It also helped make this brief and one-sided series so special to the community. One wonders how the series and the rivalry would have grown over the years if St. Mary's was still around.
"They had more players and depth, and were just physically bigger," said Consigli. "But we always wanted to play them. Back then we thought we could beat them. We didn't like them; they didn't like us. Quite frankly, it was a lot of fun." Cullen summed it up best. "They outnumbered us," he said. "But they were not tougher than us."




[back]




Click to Learn More

Click to Learn More

Click to Learn More

Click to Learn More

Click to Learn More

Click to Learn More

Click to Learn More

HOME | CALENDAR | NEWS ARCHIVE | EDITORIAL | PHOTO GALLERY | SPORTS | ADVERTISING | ABOUT US

Town Crier Publications, Inc. · 48 Mechanic Street, Upton, MA 01568
Phone: 508-529-7791 · E-mail: sales@towncrierpubs.com

  Copyright © 2019  Town Crier Publications, Inc.
 All rights reserved.  ·  Login

Website designed and hosted by Standing Stone Designs.