Wellesley, Needham Renew Nation’s Oldest Thanksgiving Public High School Football Rivalry

WELLESLEY (CBS) – Wellesley and Needham renewed the country’s oldest public high school football Thanksgiving rivalry on Thursday after a year off. And this season game did not disappoint.

Wellesley won, 34-28, in overtime.

#Needham and #Wellesley kicking off Thanksgiving by renewing the nation’s oldest high school football rivalry @wbz @wbzsports pic.twitter.com/IvIZSZTHrb

— Nick Giovanni (@NickGNews) November 25, 2021

 

“It’s hard to put to words. It’s definitely part of our lifestyle here and our football program,” Wellesley coach Jesse Davis said.

The teams were scheduled to play the 133rd version of the game last year, but it was canceled due to COVID. The teams got together at the field for a socially distanced photo opportunity on Thanksgiving, and played each other in the spring season, but it wasn’t the same for either program.

“It was so strange to have it be so anticlimactic and not having anything to play for that day,” Needham head coach Doug Kopsco said.

Wellesley and Needham played their first Thanksgiving game in 1882.

“It’s unbelievable. It’s a great opportunity for the kids to come here and be part of the tradition,” Kopsco said.

Wellesley holds the all-time series lead with a record of 64-60-9 after Thursday’s game.

Entering the game, Wellesley had a 7-3 record while the Rockets were 2-8 on the year.

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