High school football is as American as apple, no, wait, make that pumpkin, pie. So is playing football on Thanksgiving, the most American of all holidays (seriously, what’s more American than eating, watching football and hugging then arguing with family?). It’s only fitting that America’s oldest high school football rivalries, and some of its other most notable contests, all take place on Turkey Day each year.
Here’s our breakdown of the best Thanksgiving Day high school rivalries, from a historic, competitive and unique standpoint.
1. The State Line Game
Easton (Pa.) vs. Phillipsburg (N.J.) — It’s impossible to reference high school football on Thanksgiving Day without discussing Easton and Phillipsburg. The schools sit on opposite sides of the New Jersey-Pennsylvania border, and the game is played at a neutral site at Lafayette College in Easton, Pa. The game often has been a sellout or near sellout and has even received national TV coverage from ESPN in years past. Given that the contest has been played since 1905, and on Thanksgiving since 1916, there’s plenty of heritage and history here (and some fantastic snowy highlights to boot), not to mention heated passions fighting for the Forks of Delaware Trophy, named in honor of the Delaware River, which separates the towns.
After a one-year miss, when the game was moved to the Saturday following Thanksgiving in 2014 due to a freak snowstorm (Phillipsburg won that contest, 19-14), Easton blanked Phillipsburg, 26-0, in the 109th iteration in 2015 and also captured the 2016 game, 24-14, to cap a winning season … while keeping Phillipsburg from achieving precisely that. The 2017 iteration finished as a 21-14 Easton win, helping the Rovers finish 8-5, while sending the Stateliners to their first loss.
The Stateliners fell short again to Easton again in 2018, 31-26, in another thriller.