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By Cameron Hopkinson Dec. 9, 2023

On a cold Thanksgiving morning the Winchester Red and Black faced off against the Woburn Tanners in the annual “Turkey Day Tussle” Thanksgiving football bout. Fun fact, this cherished rivalry dates back to 1891 making it 132 years old!

Fans of players on both sides of the pigskin lined the stands in Woburn’s Connolly Memorial Stadium, the home of the Tanners, to cheer on their boys to victory, donning blankets, sherpas, gloves, and all. In the end, as is the unfortunate yet inevitable nature of competition, one side went home victorious and the other defeated. Woburn, despite lagging behind the Red and Black for most of the game, clutched out a hard-fought victory in the final quarter beating Winchester 20-17. Ultimately, it was one player on the Woburn 11 that turned the tide in this game, tying the Winchester and Woburn records at 8-3 in their respective divisions. More on that later.

For this traditional game displaying one of Massachusetts’ most iconic rivalries, one could view the “battle” as being fought on two defined “theaters”: the field and the stands. 

On the fields, the Woburn side was defined by one talented player in particular: Running Back Bryan Ferreira. During the game, while on offense, Bryan scored two touchdowns and racked up 291 yards across 30 rushes. His performance on defense was equally impressive, with two fumble recoveries that helped keep Woburn in the game and break down Winchester’s offense. 

Individual football prowess was also visible on the Winchester side that day, however less to the extent that it was for the Tanners. Seniors Bronner Keough and Ben Wilson led the charge against Woburn, which contributed to their dominance for the first half of play. Bronner’s defensive performance forced two Woburn turnovers and a crucial late first-half fumble recovery; needless to say, this set the bar for relentless defense during the match. Wide receiver Ben Wilson, on the other hand, helped to heighten Winchester’s offensive game scoring an impressive 34-yard TD late in the first half, ending the half 17-6 going into halftime. The breakdown: 2 TDs and a 45-yard field goal scored by Kierann in the final moments of the half (nothing out of the ordinary there).

On the stands, a separate but equally dynamic battle was waged between the two sides: the battle of the bands. Of course, the Tanners’ marching band was present, blasting tunes from their side of the bleachers. However, it must be mentioned that for this special tradition, the WHS Band too could be seen in the stands - even at an away game. Throughout the game, the two musical “armies” exchanged volleys (in the form of a playthrough of their repertoires), blaring away at the triumphs of their respective teams.

Overall, though an unfortunate loss for the Red and Black, both losing the match and their edge in the 122-year-old series (now tied up at 55-55) it’s safe to say that the 2023 Woburn V. Winchester Thanksgiving Game was yet another success. Now that the teams are quite literally “neck and neck”, we can only wonder which side will prove to be the “Turkey Titans” in next year’s game! 

Cameron Hopkinson is a Winchester High School student journalist.

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