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November 20, 2012

Hornets, Royals continue Thanksgiving rivalry

As the Manchester Essex football team worked through its training camp in August, the Hornets hoped their Thanksgiving Day clash with Georgetown would have postseason implications.

After a rash of injuries paved the way to a disappointing season for Manchester Essex (2-8), though, those hopes were dashed.

But while the impact of tomorrow’s game between the Hornets and Royals (10 a.m., Hyland Field) will reach no farther than the two communities, that doesn’t change the spirit of the game.

The Hornets have met Georgetown (1-9) every Thanksgiving since the 1960s and the two programs have moved together from conference to conference over the years. Tomorrow’s game highlights a year’s worth of athletic rivalry between the two schools.

So does it matter much that the two teams enter tomorrow’s game with a combined three wins?

“When it comes down to it, you don’t like it to be like this,” Manchester Essex coach Mike Athanas said. “You’d obviously rather have done better. But that’s the great thing about high school football and the great thing about Thanksgiving Day. You throw everything out and you’re playing for one game and you’ve got bragging rights for a year, so it’s a big game to win.”

On paper, Thanksgiving appears to offer the Hornets a good opportunity to end their season on a high note. The Royals are winless in NEC/CAL Tier 4 play and their lone win on the year came over lowly West Bridgewater.

Since that season-opening win, the Royals have been beaten by an average of more than 21 points a game and have found the end zone just three times in four conference games.

But just as the Hornets are using tomorrow’s game to erase a forgettable season, so is Georgetown. And for the season’s final game, the slate is wiped clean.

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