This Thursday's Thanksgiving Day game between Gloucester Catholic and Gloucester High will renew an old rivalry that began almost 60 years ago, in 1948, on a gridiron field located at the Charles Street Stadium. That Stadium may be gone but the tradition lives on. For a brief period the game was stopped but was renewed again in 1993.
The argument within the City of Gloucester is that the Rams bring players from surrounding areas. This according to many gives the Ram's an unfair advantage, but this year that advantage does not fully exist.
The Gloucester Catholic Rams come into the Turkey Day game with a record of 7 & 2, while the Gloucester Lion's bring a 6 & 3 record. Both the Lion's and the Ram's are coming off playoff games with different results. The Lion's lost a heartbreaker in the final 53 seconds when Woodbury scored the winning touchdown, while the Ram's upset #1 St. Joe's of Hammonton on a dramatic touchdown run by quarterback Mike Calzonetti with 2 seconds remaining.
But, regardless of records both team bring that one intangible into the game DESIRE. This is the desire to win the City Title and the bragging rights that go along with it. Through the years many GCHS players grew up in Gloucester or Brooklawn, many were teammates on the Mustangs and this year is no different except for the number of former teammates.
The Ram's lead by Gloucester residents QB Mike Calzonetti, Running Back Ryan Alcott and Lineman Harry Amwake will face former players and teammates on the Lion's Safety Mike Becker, D-Back Jeremy Collins and D-End Steve Crank.
Other Ram's players seeing action from Gloucester City are WR George Spingler, S Mike Gartland, G Matt Glassman all teamed up with Lion's QB Steve Goad, DE Brett Darrow and LB Frank Heitman as former teammates on the Mustangs. As 10 year olds the Ram's Spingler and Gartland and the Lion's Darrow and Heitman teamed up on the Colonial All-Star team where Frank Heitman won the All Star MVP award.
Husbands and wife's who have married into the enemy will show their former schools spirit. Some locals will be labeled as traitors on this day. Old friendships to be rekindled in the stand as these former teammates battle on the field pledging their allegiance to their respective schools for this day.
For one day Gloucester City is transformed into a city of segregation by alma maters. It is the greatest love hate relationship that you will find anywhere. Neighbor against neighbor.
On Thursday you are either one of us or one of them. There will be no love lost during the hours of 10:00 am and 1:00 pm.
When the clock reads o: oo we will praise the players for their competiveness and their sportsmanship. When these former players walk across the field to shake hands the mutual respect for each other's talent in the battle will be over and the warriors will once again be good friends.
But, when we sit down after the game for the Thanksgiving dinner all of us will gives thanks to our Lion or Ram friends.
Author: Bruce Darrow