By Patrick Flaherty, BPSsports Correspondent
JAMAICA PLAIN — It’s a game between two of the most proud neighborhoods in the city of Boston. It’s a game that has been played since 1901. It’s a game that is held at historic White Stadium.
The East Boston vs. South Boston Thanksgiving Day football clash has always been a contest engulfed in history and tradition. But in the 2011 high school football season, this game carried even more significance this time around.
A spot in the playoffs was on the line.
Both the East Boston Jets and the South Boston Knights came into Thanksgiving morning at 4-0 in the Boston North, which meant the winner would earn the right to face the Blue Hills Warriors on Tuesday night in the Division 4A playoffs.
The game went scoreless through the first quarter, with both squads committing turnovers and penalties that resulted in stalled drives and vacant end zones.
But midway through the second quarter, the explosive East Boston Jets were finally able to bust open a big play when running back Kyle Jimenez-Fox took a sweep down the left sideline for a 51 yard gain. That play gave Eastie the football inside the 15, and two plays later Andre Rickerson was able to put the first score on the board when he plowed up the middle for a 2 yard touchdown run. South Boston was then able to hold the Jets to a 6-0 lead after they stuffed Rickerson on the 2 point conversion.
The Jets were able to put another score on the board on their opening possession of the 3rd quarter. The methodical 10 play 56 yard scoring drive, that featured tough runs by Andre Rickerson and a 10 yard pass reception by Kyle Jimenez-Fox, was finished with Rickerson finding the end zone on a 7 yard run to the outside.
South Boston struggled to gain any momentum until midway through the 3rd quarter when Adrian Shelton picked off an Anthony Whitney pass at East Boston 35 yard line. East Boston also committed a personal foul penalty on the play, which gave South Boston the ball at the 20 yard line. The Knights’ drive continued into the 4th quarter until Southie standout running back James Toles was stripped near the 12 yard line, where East Boston recovered the ball.
Southie was finally able to put some points on the board in the 4th quarter when Pannel Davis ripped the football away from Kyle Jimenez-Fox at the East Boston 12 yard line, and ran it in for a touchdown. However, the Davis score was too little to late as the East Boston Jets went on to win 12-6.
When asked about the game, East Boston Boston Head Coach John Parziale praised the South Boston Knights. “I give South Boston credit. Southie, Coach Guthrie, Coach Demello, you guys do a great job every year. It’s a tough game, we’re scared to death to play you guys.” said coach Parziale.
We also caught up with East Boston Defensive Lineman and Captain Leo Parnell about his plans for Thanksgiving and his focus for the playoffs. “I’m gonna enjoy today. I’m gonna eat some turkey, pass out. Them I’m gonna come right back tomorrow morning and get back to work.” said Parnell.
The Jets will have just four days until the Division 4A playoffs, when they face the Blue Hills Warriors on Tuesday night at Franklin High School.
Pat Flaherty is the producer and play-by-play announcer for Mayor Menino’s Game of the Week, which airs on Sundays at noon and Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m, on Boston City TV (Ch. 24). The games also airs on BNN Channel 9 on Mondays at 9:30 p.m.