By Matt Taylor, Contributing Writer
Marlborough/Hudson– This year the Marlborough and Hudson High
School football teams will meet for the 108th time Thanksgiving Day. Dating back to 1906, Marlborough-Hudson has lasted longer than any rivalry in the NFL, NHL and NBA, and is the fourth longest high school football rivalry in the state.
There are many memories, milestones and multi-generational experiences that make up this storied high school football tradition. The intensity of this rivalry was evident from the very beginning when in 1907 a Marlborough player claimed that the Hudson team would arrive home in an ambulance. Since that time fans have seen games that resulted in blowouts and last-minute victories; games that were played in adverse weather conditions; games that featured memorable individual performances; and even games that involved controversy.
The 1992 “Mud Bowl” stands out for many Hudson fans as the Hawks eked out a 7-6 victory in the sloppiest of conditions. It was also the last victory in the long and successful career of Coach Victor Rimkus, which spanned 34 years. One year earlier, the Hawks completed probably their most memorable season by throttling Marlborough 47-19 on Thanksgiving Day, and finishing with their first Super Bowl title.
1979 was a year to remember for Marlborough, as they completed an undefeated season, won a Division 1 Super Bowl title, and defeated Hudson in a hard-fought Thanksgiving Day battle. Marlborough also recorded the two most lopsided victories of the rivalry in 1957 and 1958 by scores of 59-20 and 54-12. Marlborough has the edge, with victories in 62 of the 107 contests.
The Hawks and Panthers also have their own version of “The Ice Bowl.” It occurred the same year as the more famous version between Vince Lombardi's Packers and Tom Landry's Cowboys in 1967, but the icy field conditions provided the only memories as Marlborough and Hudson played to a scoreless tie.
This year's game takes place at Morgan Bowl in Hudson with the Hawks entering the game at 8-2. Hudson ended a four-game losing streak against Marlborough with a 6-0 victory last year. Marlborough enters the game with a record of 6-4, and needs a win, and help from other schools to secure a playoff birth. This game has drawn as many as 7,000 to Morgan Bowl and Kelleher Field on Thanksgiving morning, and with both Marlborough and Hudson fielding competitive teams, a large crowd will be a given this year.
Coaches Sean Mahoney and Hudson's Dan McAnespie will have almost two weeks to prepare for this epic battle. They reflected on their memories of past games, and what their respective squads will need to do to win this year's game.
Mahoney mentioned three performances he'sl always remember from this rivalry.
“Josh Carter's performance in 2007 where he rushed for three touchdowns, and threw for three more will always stick out in my mind,” Mahoney said. “Tyler McElman's performance was sensational in that game as well as recording nine tackles after recovering from a broken wrist.”
Mahoney also mentioned Graham Asum's performance in 2008 and Marlborough's shutout of Hudson in 2006.
What will they have to do to contain this year's Hudson squad?
“Contain Jake Wardwell, Karl Sery and Dave Meuse,” Mahoney said. “Protecting the ball will be key, and each possession will be critical.”
McAnespie also has his share of memorable moments from this rivalry after 14 years at the helm of the Hawks.
“Winning last year's game after losing the previous four was memorable,” McAnespie said. “Brian Graca's game-clinching interception was the big play in that game.”
McAnespie also recalled Hawk running back Cole Durand running for 100 yards in the snow in 2005 leading to a Hudson victory. He also remembered his first game as coach, a 14-13 Hudson victory, and the 100th meeting, also a Hudson victory.
McAnespie also stressed protecting the football, and playing tough defense against a Marlborough team with a lot of offensive weapons as keys to succeeding in this year's game.
Both coaches acknowledged everyone from both sides looks forward to this contest at the beginning of the year. After weeks of practicing and preparing, it should be an interesting battle at Morgan Bowl Thanksgiving morning.