Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Touchdowns and Turkey...an Unbeatable Combination

by Jeff Fisher
High School Football America

Aside from the first day of practice, Thanksgiving is my favorite day of the high school football season!

I've never forgotten my first high school football game on Thanksgiving. It was back in 1969 when my alma mater, Wilson played Nazareth at Lehigh University's Taylor Stadium. It was a double thrill because it was also the first time I was ever in a college football stadium...and Taylor Stadium was unique with the blast furnace of Bethlehem Steel just a couple of blocks away.

It was a double thrill for another reason.

Wilson and Nazareth played at 10 o'clock in the morning, and as soon as the game ended, we high-tailed it from Bethlehem to Easton to watch Easton and Phillipsburg do battle at Lafayette College. Yes, a football doubleheader followed by a family feast is hard to beat.

Wilson and Nazareth no longer play each other, although there is a movement to revive the game, but Easton and P'burg will play #104 on Thursday. Being part of the Easton/Phillipsburg crowd of 15,000-plus is always exciting, and for the first time since I left the Lehigh Valley in 2000, I'll be back in the Lehigh Valley for the granddaddy of them all.

With High School Football America camera in-hand, I stopped by Easton High School today to check-out the building of the bonfire, which currently stands at about 20-feet tall with more wood coming tomorrow. For those that will be driving on Route 22 tomorrow night without knowledge of Easton/P'burg rivalry, they'll be wondering if the school is on-fire.

This is ONE BIG BONFIRE that is being guarded all-night-long by the Red Rovers' senior class that camps-out in 30-degree temperatures to make sure the woodpile isn't ignited prematurely by their arch-rival fans. Considering the Stateliners faithful already nabbed the Rover statue a couple of weeks ago (it is back in the hands of Easton officials, but not on its pedestal), it's a great idea that the students built a mini "tent city" around the massive pile of wood.

Easton brings a four-game series win streak into the contest. The Red Rovers lead the overall series with 58 wins to P'burg's 40, and there have been fives ties.

How big is this game for the two schools that are only separated by the Delaware River?

After Easton plays its bitter arch-rival, it must turn-around two days later and play Whitehall in a district championship game that sends the winner into the PIAA Class AAAA state tournament...the Rovers WILL NOT rest their starters...this game is too important!

In recent years, both teams have in the same position, and there's NEVER talk about canceling game or anyone playing the JV's. This game is more important than a state championship for either team.

One other note...Easton is 11-1 this season with its only loss this year coming at the hands of Saturday's opponent Whitehall.

Three games in eight days...no problem for either school.  They just strap 'em up and play...and that to me makes Thursday a great day to give thanks for high school football.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!


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