On the holiday most synonymous with football, two Mass. schools have been playing each other longer than any two public schools in the country.
Since 1882, neighbors Wellesley and Needham have done battle on Thanksgiving. Thursday marked the 130th edition of the nation’s oldest public school rivalry played on Turkey Day.
It did not disappoint, as host Wellesley came away with a 23-20 victory. The Raiders (6-5) trailed 20-15 entering the fourth quarter, but a 14-yard touchdown pass from sophomore Matt Maiona to D’Aunte Moore put the hosts ahead for good. Maiona, who was playing in place of senior captain Jack Tishman (knee), added a two-point conversion to seal the victory.
Moore also had an interception return for a touchdown in the win, while Maiona added the clinching INT.
The rivalry took a break during both World Wars when players from both schools had enlisted, and from 1950 to 1952, when the game was cancelled after riots broke out between the opposing teams.
Like Wellesley, Needham finishes its season 6-5. The Raiders’ win, its second straight in the rivalry, increases their series lead to a slim 62-59-9 margin.