Many Mass. high school football rivalry games rescheduled due to extreme Thanksgiving forecast

ARLINGTON, MASS. (WHDH) - More than a dozen Thanksgiving Day football showdowns have been rescheduled, including the Arlington Catholic and Arlington and Andover and North Andover rivalry games, due to the expected extreme cold temperatures and brutal wind chill on Thursday morning.

Expressing concern for the safety of everyone involved in the game, officials opted to reschedule the Andover/North Andover tilt to Wednesday at 5 p.m. at Andover High School and the Arlington Catholic/Arlington matchup to 6 p.m.

“We were upset at first, but I mean, we can’t do anything about it,” said Arlington Catholic cornerback Jack Driscoll.

“I understand where I think the schools are coming from. It’s a safety issue, it’s going to be real cold,” Arlington Catholic Head Coach Anthony Petrelis said. “The wind chill is going to be in the lower digits, maybe even the negatives.”

The game between Arlington and Arlington Catholic is one of a number of games across the state to get postponed, or pre-poned, in light of expected record-breaking cold, a tough choice for many to accept.

“Due to the potential for record-setting conditions, superintendents, principals, and coaches from both communities have considered the well-being of those that participate in the Thanksgiving Day football,” said Nicole Kieser, Director of Communications at Andover Public Schools.

“Players don’t mind playing in the cold, they don’t mind playing Wednesday night. If North Andover wants to meet on Route 495 and set up two goals posts, let’s get it on,” Andover football coach EJ Perry said.

“I think it’s probably wise for the kids and the people who are going to see it. There are traditions, but they’ve got to be flexible,” said grandparent Barbara Weigel.

“I think it’s a good idea that they moved it because we don’t want the players getting injured. If they get injured, they might not be able to play next season,” student Billy Cleary said.

But not everyone agreed, including parent Dana Martin, who believes the game should go on.

“I think tradition is more important,” Martin said.

After a more than 40-year hiatus, the two schools renewed their Thanksgiving Day rivalry in 2015.

When coaches made the call to move the Braintree/Milton game to Wednesday, there was so much blow back, the mayor moved it back to Thursday’s in less than 24 hours.

Braintree Mayor Joseph Sullivan said.

But the Braintree mayor says safety won’t be ignored. He says there will be heat blowers on the field for the players. And they’ve ordered hundreds of hand warmers for the fans.

All of the following games have been moved to Wednesday:

Arlington Catholic at Arlington (6 p.m.)

Bishop Stang at Bishop Feehan (5 p.m.)

Burncoat at Doherty (3 p.m.)

Central Catholic at Lawrence (6 p.m.)

Dennis-Yarmouth at Nauset (5 p.m.)

Dracut at Methuen (5 p.m.)

Gardner at Oakmont (6 p.m.)

Fitchburg at Leominster (6 p.m.)

Newton South at Lincoln-Sudbury (3:30 p.m.)

Northeast Regional at Essex Tech (6:30 pm)

Old Rochester at Apponequet (5 p.m.)

Uxbridge at Northbridge (5:30 p.m. at Northbridge Middle School Lasell Field)

Weston at Wayland (6 p.m.)

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