Winchester and Woburn are more than just old firm friends for Massachusetts rivals. They tend to make for compelling Thanksgiving theater because they’re so evenly matched, too.
On Thursday, the teams couldn’t be separated after four quarters. Then it took extended drama to eventually pick a winner, with Winchester quarterback Tommy Degnan scoring a game-winning touchdown during the second overtime period as the Sachems escaped with a 27-21 victory.
It didn’t seem like it was going to end that way. After a see-saw regulation, Woburn was best positioned to escape with the Thanksgiving Day win on a final fourth quarter drive. Then the Tanners’ momentum stalled, setting up a 38 yard field goal attempt to all but officially win with just 31 seconds left in regulation.
It missed. And rather than try to burn up the frozen turf for a last ditch winner in regulation, Winchester opted to play for extra time.
That’s when the drama truly ratcheted up. Both teams scored a rushing touchdown on their first OT possession — Degnan for Winchester and Arthur Amaral on a tense third and goal for the Tanners — but neither team could score on a two-point attempt to win.
Woburn got to start the second overtime period, but couldn’t get through the teeth of the Winchester defense, eventually leading to a fourth and goal attempt from the 20 that fell short. All Winchester needed was some score to win, and they got it — from Degnan of course.
The quarterback was the difference in the 2018 edition of a rivalry that has been played annually since 1893. Degnan finished with all of Winchester’s points, all on quarterback keepers. And the last one set of the kind of celebratory delirium that he and his teammates spend a full season dreaming of.
The Sachems’ win wraps up their season with a winning record at 6-5 while Woburn concludes with a 4-6 mark.