Emotional time for seniors playing
in final Thanksgiving game
By Jack Callahan
Fitchburg Athletics Staff Writer
FITCHBURG — The annual Thanksgiving Day game is the most anticipated game in the Twin Cities of Fitchburg and Leominster.
For some, it’s their first tradition game. For some, it’s their last.
For those that are playing in their last game, it’s the end of an almost decade-long journey that started back in the days of mighty mites football.
“It’s been a hell of a four years with my boys, some even a little longer,” said defensive tackle Peter Rivera “I grew up with most of the team matter of fact, known a lot of them since we were little.”
That strong bond between the Fitchburg seniors is one that will never be broken -- even after their final game and eventually their final day of high school.
For the senior players this year was one for the ages, going 7-3 and making it to the Central Mass. Division 4 playoffs and even winning a playoff game for the first time since 2014 and advancing to the final.
“It doesn’t feel like it’s all coming to an end because I know that even after all this these guys will always be family,” said star linebacker Gio Marrone.
But despite it being his final game as a high school football player, Marrone still has the game on his mind more than anything else.
“We’re all looking for revenge from last year,” he said. “I want to go out with a bang; I don’t want to feel any regret.”
It’s not just Marrone, though, that feels this way.
“Having our last game together is probably going to be like the start of the season,” said senior defensive back Dee Jones, “but this time we all go in different paths and end up in a different world and we’ll all be playing on different teams.”
One big part of the game on Thursday morning that can’t be overlooked is at quarterback. For the last four years, the Red Raiders have been playing the Thanksgiving game with Andrew Brooks under center, and for the first time in fours years Fitchburg will have a new QB for the game, junior lefty Montgomery Graham.
Throw the records right out the window. This is Fitchburg vs. Leominster. It’s the most important game of the season --the one that is played on Thanksgiving morning with seas of blue and red on the field and in the stands at Crocker Field.