The 118th edition of one of America’s oldest Thanksgiving Day rivalries provided a competitive result that was befitting its historic stature. After all, it’s hard to top a 22-21 thriller.
As reported by the Boston Globe, Woburn edged longtime Thanksgiving Day rival Winchester, 22-21, in a tight game that tested the oft-cited friendly nature of the teams’ rivalry.
Woburn took the lead on a gutsy fourth-and-one call with just more than five minutes remaining in the game on a 14-yard run to the end zone by Tyler Hayden, his third score of the day for the running back.
Yet the drama wasn’t over in Eastern Massachusetts. The Sachems pushed down the field and scored to cut the lead to 22-21 on a run by Winchester quarterback Liam Fitzpatrick. That’s when Winchester went for the gusto, attempting a two-point conversion on another run by Fitzpatrick, only for his counterpart on the other sideline, Hayden, to come up with a big stop and seal the game for the Tanners.
The victory was a fairytale ending for longtime Woburn coach Rocky Nelson, who announced earlier in the 2016 campaign that he would retire at the end of the season. Nelson walked off the sideline embracing his coaching staff and nearly his entire team before walking through a handshake line with plenty of smiles and thanks on both sides for a hard-fought contest in one of the nation’s oldest and most celebrated rivalry games.