With one of the two rivals still playing football deep into November again, the annual Turkey Bowl between White Plains and Stepinac high schools has been canceled. The game was scheduled for Nov. 26 at White Plains’ Loucks Stadium.
This will be the third straight year with no Turkey Bowl after the teams played for 42 straight years from 1971-2012. Despite what will, at best, be a four-year layoff between Turkey Bowls, the schools indicated their Thanksgiving Day tradition will continue.
“The game is a great tradition for both schools and the entire community,” Stepinac athletic director Mike O’Donnell and his counterpart at White Plains, Matt Cameron, said in a joint statement. “We are sorry we will not be playing it this year.”
Through the years, sprawling crowds had totaled in the thousands for the event, which had been an annual, if informal, reunion for alumni.
In 2013, the game was shuttered after White Plains won a Section 1 championship and earned a bye into the Class AA state semifinals, which made the team ineligible to play on Thanksgiving. Last year, Stepinac won the program’s first outright CHSFL AAA title less than a week before Thanksgiving. The Crusaders advanced to the first-ever CHSAA state championship game the following weekend.
This year’s Thanksgiving tradition ended for the same reason. Stepinac, which is 10-0, is not only scheduled to play Cardinal Hayes on Saturday night for the league title, it is a favorite to advance to the Catholic state final on Nov. 28 in Buffalo. The 10-0 Crusaders would not have the rest mandated by the state to play all three games, according to New York state’s Sports Standards.
White Plains, which finished the season on Oct. 30 at 1-8, had practiced during the last two weeks but stopped this week.