MARSHFIELD – Want to add some spice to your Thanksgiving turkey? Just add in a storyline where the winning team takes home the league championship and BAM … instant added fuel to the already great gridiron rivalry between the Marshfield High and Duxbury High football programs.
Marshfield (7-3) and Duxbury (10-0) have matching 4-0 records in Patriot League games this season, so the annual Thanksgiving morning battle will be for the Keenan Division championship. The game is set for a 10 a.m. start at Marshfield High this season.
Marshfield hasn’t hosted the annual holiday football game since 2019.
The edge in the overall Thanksgiving rivalry stands with the Rams right now, who lead 18-16-2 coming in. Marshfield dominated with wins from 2013-2017, but Duxbury ended the streak in 2018 with a 44-22 win. The Rams jumped back on top in 2019 with a 41-0 shutout. Covid canceled the game in 2020, but it was back in full force last year when Duxbury raced out to a 38-28 win.
“Thanksgiving is always a special game, especially for the seniors, since for many of them it will be the final organized football game they will ever play. Only a small percentage of players get to move on and play in college,” explained Marshfield Head Coach Chris Arouca. “It hits different guys at different times. You’re running 100 miles an hour if you happen to make the playoffs and then, wham! You get to Thanksgiving and you are putting on the Marshfield High uniform for the last time.”
Both teams made decent runs in the state tournament this season. In fact, Duxbury is still alive after defeating Holliston High Saturday, 42-14, to advance to the Division 4 state championship game. The top seed in the bracket, Duxbury will play for the title against No. 2 Grafton (11-0) on Friday, Dec. 2 at Gillette Stadium.
Marshfield entered playoff action as the seventh seed in Div. 2. They took down Woburn in the opening round, 48-20, and then lost to King Philip, 17-13. The Rams were in the lead most of the way before giving up the game-winning touchdown with just under two minutes to play.
More:Duxbury’s second-half surge does in Holliston in state football semifinals
The Rams started the season will a lopsided loss to St. John’s Prep, but they took some big steps forward the second week in a 10-point loss to Methuen. That’s been the trajectory for Marshfield this entire season. Each week they get a little better, a little stronger, and a little faster.
“I told the kids after the loss last week to King Philip that there was no way that I could not be prouder of this team,” Arouca said. “Things didn’t start well this season, but they kept working hard and in quick fashion, we got better. They never quit on themselves or each other. They kept fighting.
“It’s a great life lesson they can take with them long after football is over,” Arouca added. “You keep showing up and good things can happen.”
Senior quarterback Anthony Molander has done a solid job great job directing the fasted-paced Marshfield offense. Molander tied a school record with four touchdown passes in a single game earlier this season. Jack Marini is a force in the running game and Charlie Carroll has become a huge receiving threat on the outside.
More:Marshfield High football team’s upset bid falls just short against No. 2 King Philip
Marshfield’s offense will have to be on point on Thanksgiving as Duxbury’s skill players are on another level with 429 points scored so far this season. The offensive attack is the very definition of multi-dimensional. If you try to take away the run, they’ll beat you with the passing game. And if you try to take away their receivers, they’ll use their large and athletic offensive line run the football up and down the field on you.
The only team to stay within two touchdowns of the Dragons so far has been Franklin High, who lost by 13 points. All their other wins were by at least 20 points.
“(Duxbury quarterback) Matt Festa is the best at that position we’ll face this season. He might be the best quarterback in this state and he’s got a big, tough offensive line protecting him,” Arouca said, along with a talented running back in Alex Barlow as well as a crew of great receivers. “The thing with Duxbury is there is talent all over the field. They have speed and talent at every position on both sides of the football.”
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