Sports 11-14-2018

The East Boston and South Boston High School

Football Rivalry

1903 – 2018

This month on Thanksgiving Day, we reach the 100th game in the great rivalry between East Boston High School and South Boston High School.  However, the first game was not played in 1918.  It was played on Saturday, Nov. 21, 1903 at the Locust Street playground in Dorchester.  South Boston won 33-0.  For unknown reasons, the rivalry resumed on Thursday, Nov. 12, 1914.  Playing at Wood Island Park, East Boston won 12-6.  The third game on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 25, 1915 took place at McNary Playground in South Boston.  The Knights won 7-0.  Due to tension between both teams, no game took place in 1916.  The rivalry resumed thereafter.

In the 1920s and 30s, Fenway Park and Braves Field hosted Boston area high school football games.  In the 1921 game on Nov. 8, East Boston shut out Southie 21-0 at Braves Field.  There was no game in 1922 due to a snow storm. The 1932 and 1933 game at Fenway Park both ended in a 0-0 tie.  Snow cancelled the game in 1936 and heavy rain cancelled the game in 1942 and 1943.  With the opening of White Stadium adjacent to Franklin Park in 1949, the game was moved there on Thursday, November 24.  East Boston won 7-6.  Since then, with a few exceptions, the Thanksgiving Day game has been played there every year.  Many who played football for either school over the years will recall the crowds that would fill the stadium for the once-a-year clash on the grid iron.

Over the years, both teams have had spectacular win streaks.  South Boston won the game every year from 1957 to 1968.  East Boston won the game every year from 1977 to 1989.  South Boston last won the game in 2008 by a score of 34-6.  Overall, East Boston leads the series at 52-42-6.

The desegregation of the Boston Public Schools affected the rivalry in the mid 1970s.  The chaos at South Boston High in 1974 led to the school not having a football team.  The cancellation of the 1974 game was a disappointment to the East Boston team as for many of the players, it was a family tradition to play South Boston on Thanksgiving Day.  The 1975 game was moved to Nickerson Field at BU with a heavy police presence to keep the peace among unruly fans.  In the years since, turnout at the game every year has been less than stellar.

As of this week, East Boston, led by John Parziale (9th season) has a record of 3-7.  South Boston, led by Germaine Sattiawhite (2nd season) is 2-8.  Due to poor field conditions at White Stadium, the 100th game will be played at Sartori Stadium in East Boston.  Kick-off time is at 9:30 a.m.  It is hoped there will be a large turnout of alumni and coaches from both schools to cheer on both teams and win or lose, be good sports with the results.

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