Our Friday Football Feature of the week comes out of Chicopee, where 100 years of Thanksgiving tradition have come to an end between Chicopee and Holyoke, but perhaps tonight was the start of 100 more years of this historic rivalry.
Despite the move from Thanksgiving to week two, players and coaches tell Western Mass News that there is nothing quite like this blue-collar-city rivalry.
When you think about the great high school football rivalries in Massachusetts, most would put Chicopee and Holyoke on the list.
It’s a rivalry that took its first snap in 1908, and after hundreds of touchdowns, tens of thousands of tackles, this rivalry is still as strong as ever.
When you break down the numbers, it’s not hard to see why:
Chicopee vs. Holyoke (1908-present)
Wins: Holyoke 51 Chicopee 38 Ties: 11
Games decided by 7 pts or less: 41
Of the 100 games, Holyoke has won 51 to Chicopee's 38. 11 games actually ended in a tie, and nearly half of the games have been decided by a touchdown or less.
Earlier this year, it was announced that the game would be moved from its annual Thanksgiving Day classic to week two.
This, due to changes in MIAA divisions, strength of schedules, and declining attendance.
We spoke with both schools, and there is no question that from coaches to student athletes, there are some mixed emotions.
But even the move to week two cannot crumble the foundation of touchdowns and celebrations past.
Chicopee High head football coach Alex Efstratios told Western Mass News that two of his coaches played in this game, and to be able to guide their team to victory only adds fuel to this never ending fire.
"Everybody goes to the game during it, all the old timers come out, the alumni come out-- it makes it really special not just for them, but for the players."
Holyoke: 22 Chicopee: 19
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