By TOM WILLIAMS
The oldest is the Millville-Vineland game – those two schools will be meeting for the 100th time since the NJSIAA was founded in 1918 and started bringing supervision and consistency to high school sports. A lot is always made about the fact that Vineland-Millville is one of the oldest rivalry series in the country if you count the 45 games they played before 1918. But those were probably not truly high school games.
Middle Township-Lower Cape May is next – playing for the 99th time – and Ocean City-Pleasantville is 97 years old this year.
Holy Spirit and Atlantic City are meeting for the 90th time but this week’s game is really an anniversary for the Spartans. Entering the 1968 game – 50 years ago – Holy Spirit had not beaten Atlantic City in 33 years (there was one tie) but Spirit won, 27-0, in 1968 with Fred Dalzell at quarterback and Coach Lou Paludi walking the sidelines.
There are two games this year on Thanksgiving Eve and both could have meaning. Mainland and Egg Harbor Township are playing for the 36th time and Absegami will play Oakcrest for the 42nd time. If Mainland wins on Wednesday, the Mustangs will win the outright championship of the West Jersey Football League’s Independence Division. But, the EHT manage the upset and Oakcrest beats Absegami, Mainland and Oakcrest will tie for the division title.
On Thanksgiving morning, I will be joined by Nick Kosko and Josh Hennig starting at 10 a.m. on 97.3-ESPN for the 21st Annual Thanksgiving Show. We will talk about the rivalries and the season that is ending and get live updates from Albie Battaglia in Absecon, Bud Rinck in Pleasantville, Jim Schafer in Cape May Court House and Harry Sachs in Vineland.
If you are going to a game, dress warmly and enjoy yourself. If not, you can keep track of all the games by joining us.
Some results reflected took place at other times during the season than Thanksgiving week.
Games played before 1918, when high school sports became organized in New Jersey, are not included in the series records.
ABSEGAMI leads OAKCREST, 23-18 – 42nd meeting
At Stake: Joe Mohr Memorial Trophy
Absegami has won 3 straight
Kickoff: 6pm at Falcon Field, Mays Landing
2017 Result: Absegami, 21-7
First Thanksgiving Meeting: 1983
MAINLAND leads EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP, 22-12 (1 tie) 36th meeting
At Stake: Kiwanis Club Trophy
EHT has won 1 straight
Kickoff: 6pm at Mustang Corral
2017 Result: EHT, 41-0
First Thanksgiving Meeting: 1983
ATLANTIC CITY leads HOLY SPIRIT, 52-33 (4 ties) 90th meeting
At Stake: John Boyd-Stan Marczyk Memorial Trophy
Atlantic City has won 1 straight
Kickoff: 10am at Ed Byrnes Stadium
2017 Result: Atlantic City, 36-32
First Thanksgiving Meeting: 1931
OCEAN CITY leads PLEASANTVILLE, 50-40 (6 ties) 97th meeting
At Stake: Mike Slaveski-Bob Thomas Memorial Trophy
Ocean City has won 4 straight
Kickoff: 10am at Greyhound Stadium
2017 Result: Ocean City, 34-32
Thanksgiving Meetings: 1921-90/1996-2015 (played once before 1918)
MIDDLE TOWNSHIP leads LOWER CAPE MAY, 57-36 (5 ties) 99th meeting
At Stake: Anchor Trophy
Lower Cape May has won 1 straight
Kickoff: 10am at Memorial Field
2017 Result: Lower Cape May, 21-20
First Thanksgiving Meeting: 1987
MILLVILLE leads VINELAND, 45-44 (10 ties) 100th meeting
Vineland has won 2 straight
2017 Result: Vineland, 28-18
Kickoff: 10:30am at Gittone Field
First Thanksgiving Meeting: 1930 (played 45 times before 1918)