THE 100th THANKSGIVING GAME BETWEEN EASTIE AND SOUTHIE
JETS 22, KNIGHTS 6
Ten years ago, at the 90th Thanksgiving Day showdown between East Boston and South Boston, the Jets topped the Knights and pushed their overall series lead to 44 wins against Southie’s 42.
Five times the teams have tied.
Fast forward to 2018.
After the teams’ 100th meeting, the Jets have widened the gap to 53-42-5 as they topped the Knights 22-6 at frigid East Boston Stadium Thursday morning, Nov. 24. Temperatures in the low teens and a biting northwest wind weren’t enough to detour the Jets en route to their 10th straight holiday victory.
With the win, the Jets finished their season at 4-7 while South Boston dropped to 2-9.
While the weather certainly played a key role in the game, and the below-zero chill factor hampered any passing game by either team, the cold deterred neither team from bone-crunching hits and relatively mistake-free football. With about a thousand fans hunkered down and wrapped in every blanket, scarf, hat and coat they could carry, the teams scrummed through a 0-0 first quarter.
Eastie relied on the power running of senior Nate Mattera and sophomore Christian Feudo, while Southie placed its fortunes primarily in the hands of fleet senior Daniel Austin. Both defenses, though, were consistently stingy until late in the first half when Mattera plowed a yard on a fourth down play to put the Jets up 6-0.
Things stayed tight as neither team could muster much offense in the third quarter.
A Nathan Martin interception of a pass by East Boston’s Dom Russo cut short an East Boston threat.
In the fourth quarter, though, East Boston senior Kasey Vasquez decided to take matters into his own hands. He intercepted a Nathan Martin pass in front of the East Boston bench and scampered to set the Jets at the Knights’ 30-yard line. After a series of Mattera and Feudo runs, quarterback Russo took care of the final five yards with a keeper around right end. The two-point conversion put the Jets up 14-0.
Vasquez sealed the game with a 28-yard touchdown run, sprung loose midway by a Miguel Restrepo block and then dragging a couple of defenders into the end zone to make it 20-0. Johan Sifontes added the two-points to make it 22-0.
In a classic display of the rivalry, with the clock running down and mostly everyone dreaming of any place with heat, South Boston trudged on with an offensive effort – replete with timeouts that prolonged everyone’s stay in the arctic air – determined to avoid the shutout out. They cashed in on the game’s final play when Martin found junior wideout Tony DePina who made a nice catch on the South Boston sideline and scooted five yards into the end zone to make the 22-6 final.