Turkey Day Football: Gloucester City HS vs Gloucester Catholic HS (see 2008 video)
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Note: This article was first published November 2006. And each year prior to the annual Thanksgiving contest I run it again since it is timeless. Who wrote it? I don’t know anyone by the name of Lea Koros. It was sent via E-mail to me prior to the November 2006 game. Thank you Lea for the great article. If you are at the game this Thanksgiving please come forward and introduce yourself. Does anyone have a prediction on who will win this year? ~Bill Cleary
By LEA KOROS
Special to ClearysNotebook
With the Lions / Rams game less then a week away the talk has begun. The “ELECTION” is over and the residents and alumni have started the annual rite only a local GHS or GCHS graduate can appreciate. This talk is for the locals not the wannabes, the talk is not held on the bus ride from Deptford or Washington Twp, but held at the Memorial A.A. church. I’ve heard the sermons at the bright orange church about mixed marriages. Lately the sermon preached why can’t we forgive and accept these marriages. How can a Lion marry a Ram? How can they send their children to that place on Cumberland St?
Artist drawing by Todd Whitten
Yes, it has begun. Wednesday night the hardworking, church going, people of Gloucester will head to a local establishment and dissect the upcoming Turkey Day game. They will argue that no game on Turkey Day was better then the 1971 Delsea game. Or the Froggy Rebstock catch a few years later against Delsea. Anyway they look at it some old-timer will say it was the “Shot heard round the world”, forgetting they are talking about football and not the 1971 boys basketball.
Yes, it is Turkey Day. The two teams will prepare differently, the Rams will have their moms make a pre-game team breakfast, while the Lions players will go to their own breakfast at the “Orange Church”. The church better known as Coffee Corner at Broadway and Market St. has a pew and will be occupied Mr. Harris, Ken Settar, Steve Cowgill, and Ma Hagan the few survivors of Wednesday evening. The Preacher Pop Cowgill will hand out communion a Breakfast sandwich to each Lion. After these players are blessed, they will head over with the Pride of the City on their shirts.
It is game time. Lions Coach Harris has a team, which was a play, or two from the playoffs and the team wants to end the season with a .500 record while the Rams underachieved and missed out on the playoffs.
On offense, the Rams will rely on the passing of Brooklawn’s Ray Mc Kenney. Mc Kenney who has struggled at times this season will look to get the ball to City teammates Mike Calzonetti (child of a Lion/Ram marriage) and George Spingler. If Mc Kenney is on his game, it will be a long day for the Lions.
The Lions have been hurt to many times by the pass so look for Coach Harris to give DB Bryan Collins some extra help in the deep patterns. The Rams backfield has struggled with its running game. Locals RB Ryan Alcott and RB Ed Saunders have carried the load and will have another difficult time establishing a running game against the Lions strong defensive line.
On offense, the Lions have suffered in the passing game. With the exception the short pass to WR Liam James or TE Mike Becker, the Lions have not put together any consistency in the passing game. The Lions will provide a running game with TB Brandon Mc Elwee and the punishment of FB Josh Porter. Mc Elwee is coming off a strong game against Audubon where he rushed for 250 yards and scored 3 TDs. Both of these players will provide the majority of the Lions “O”.
The game will come down to Mc Kenney or backup quarterback Calzonetti’s ability to work the ball down field against a soft Lions secondary. The Rams will not be able to move the ball on the ground so look for an aerial attack from the Rams. The Rams will work away from the Lions DB Liam James and work more towards DB Brian Collins with help from FS Brandon Mc Elwee
The Lions will work the inside game and will win the battled of the line. Behind Mike Marchionne, the Lions will hammer a running game against the Rams, which has not been able finish off tackles. A few missed tackles and the Rams will be in trouble. Nevertheless, the game will come down to the pass. Who can pass, will win the game? The Lions have a lot of pride and will make all necessary adjustments to win this event but the locals who went astray and betrayed our great city, Alcott, Spingler, Mike Gartland, Mc Kenney, Harry Amwake and Calzonetti will provide enough offense and defense to beat the Lions.
My prediction........Rams 26 Lions 14
Note: Here is another article that is a joy to read from November 25, 2008
Two and One-Half-Hours
By CNB Sports
GLOUCESTER CITY NJ-How can two and one- half- hours have such an impact on everyone lives. If you're a Lions fans or a Rams fan nothing beats the game held on Thanksgiving. This year unlike many in the past brings together for the last time many local players on both the GCHS and GHS teams.
Rams players such as Mike Gartland, Mike Rafferty, George Spingler, Ryan Alcott and Harry Amwake will meet the Lions seniors and lifelong friends , Ian Harter, Robert Filer, Kyle Stewart, Brett Darrow, John Alberta, Frank Heitman and many other seniors, neighbors and friends for a last time.
In the past few years this was little more than the Lions vs. out-of- towners in a City Series game. This Thursday morning most of these boys will wake-up as a varsity football player for a last time in their young lives, bringing to an end a football career which started innocently enough at five years old on Johnson Blvd.
Artist drawing by Todd Whitten
Not only did these boys join together as Mustang players competing against other towns, but played Little League Baseball and CPBL Basketball against each other. Throughout grammar school each player bonded together in one way or another.
Starting sports at such a young age the end seemed too far to even think about. Not only the players, but parents failed to realize the impact of their son's final football game. Walking of the home field on Thursday is bittersweet affair. GCHS players from out of town cannot truly appreciate this game. These local friends and former little league and football All-Stars will never again meet in such an intense battle and still leave these battles as best friends. They will hit and hit each other hard throughout the day. They will talk on the field as they battle. And it will not be your friendly banter. But to each player the end and affect is different.
Along with a victory is the realization that a career or even a life style has come to an end. Teary eyed players will meet in the end zone after the game giving each player a hug for the last time. These boys battled together for their School while giving their parents and friends something to talk about of which ALL can be proud.
The moments of innocence and High School seem to fly by so fast, but as each player walks through the gauntlet of proud parents and they see the tears in the eyes of the mom and dad it will be hard to ever forget your last time leaving the field.
The score never really matters in the end. It is the friendships that matter. Many parents are friends because their son's sport brought strangers together. Boys went to other boy's birthday parties as they grew.
In years to come it will be nice to read how your school has done, to come back and cheer your team on. The scrapbooks will soon put aside and the only thing that will stay with the parents and players is that last hug.
It is amazing how two and one/half hours spent on the field on Thanksgiving will make everyone realize that regardless of the economy or gas prices we really have something to be thankful for. Family and Friends. For more stories on the Turkey game click
Rams v Lions City Series #2
Gloucester City New Jersey, The annual Thanksgiving Day Game Nov. 27th, 2008 Final Gloucester Catholic Rams 29 Gloucester City HS Lions 7