ESPNBoston.com Staff Thanksgiving Picks

November, 21, 2012
11/21/12
12:16
PM ET
In keeping with the good holiday spirit, we've given our local ESPN Boston staffers a turn at picking the Thanksgiving football game at their alma maters. Behold...

OAKMONT (4-6) AT GARDNER (5-5)
ESPN Boston High Schools Editor Brendan Hall, Oakmont Class of 2003: It's been a rough year for my Spartans, battling a number of injuries to key players, and running back Brandon Williams has been a rock for the Wildcats, so they might be the prohibitive favorite. But this year's contest is being held at Watkins Field, site of the last football game of my high school career -- a 7-0 Oakmont win, in frigid conditions, on an icy surface. Sorry, I know that's not much, but I never lost to Gardner in my playing career, so my conviction here is solid. Oakmont, 21-0

POPE JOHN PAUL II (6-4) AT BISHOP CONNOLLY (5-5)
ESPN Boston High Schools Editor Scott Barboza, Bishop Connolly Class of 2002: Cougars head coach Justin Kogler has done a tremendous job turning around the program in his first year on the job. They have a chance at wrapping up the program's most successful season since its inception in 2003 (of course, the year after I graduated) with a winning record. Heck, they even pushed reigning Super Bowl champion Blue Hills in a game that was in doubt in the fourth quarter, earlier this season. Brandon Gomes is over 1,000 yards rushing on the season, averaging a tad more than 7 yards per carry and QB Brian Quinn has 10 touchdowns in an injury-shortened campaign. The Cougars roll. Connolly, 28-20

NO. 11 NATICK (9-1) AT FRAMINGHAM (5-5)
ESPNBoston.com New England Patriots Reporter Mike Reiss, Framingham Class of 1993: Wish I could be there for what looks like a great game. Congrats to the public address announcer who will honored. Framingham, 35-28

No. 9 AUBURN (10-0) AT OXFORD (1-9)
ESPNBoston.com Boston Celtics Reporter Chris Forsberg, Auburn Class of 1998: Pro tip: There's no sense rushing your breakfast at Carl's Diner with the very real chance you'll miss kickoff with those insane portion sizes. This one will be over in the first quarter, so be sure to hit up the game first, then slide out at halftime to spoil your Thanksgiving dinner with insane amounts of pancakes and bacon. And while we're here, we'll make the annual plea to change Auburn's nickname back to the Dandies. Let Reading and Needham share the Rockets nickname with the 47,635 other schools in the area with the same monicker. Let's get back to top hats and canes. Go Dandies! See you at the Super Bowls. Auburn, 44-6

LUNENBURG (4-6) AT ST. BERNARD'S (1-8)
ESPN Boston Red Sox Reporter Gordon Edes, Lunenburg Class of 1972: Bernardians are playing at home and could salvage a measure of satisfaction from a disappointing 1-8 season, but QB Greg Abare has the Blue Knights' option game running smoothly and LHS should wear St. B's down in the Bernardian Bowl. Lunenburg, 30-14

ST. JOHN'S OF SHREWSBURY (6-4) VS. ST. PETER-MARIAN (5-5)
(at Fitton Field, Holy Cross)

ESPNBoston.com New England Patriots Reporter Mike Rodak, St. John's Class of 2009: It isn't the best season for the Pioneers, but they've only lost twice in this game since 1996. Hard to pick against them in the 88th contest between these two schools, who own the country's longest Catholic high school football rivalry. St. John's, 28-14

NORTHAMPTON (6-4) AT AMHERST (5-3)
ESPNBoston.com Editor Peter Lawrence-Riddell, Amherst Class of 1992:
Northampton played the tougher schedule this year, but Amherst comes in on a roll, winning three straight, so I don’t feel like too much of a homer picking the Hurricanes. Both teams are still clinging to outside playoff hopes, so motivation won’t be an issue (not that it ever is in the rivalry). Amherst, 21-17

UXBRIDGE (3-7) AT NORTHBRIGE (8-2)
ESPNBoston.com Editor David Lefort, Northbridge Class of 1994
: Coming off a 48-0 victory over Millbury in which they scored on every offensive possession, the Rams will keep the good times rolling against rival Uxbridge. Northbridge should be in the mix for a Super Bowl berth. Northbridge, 37-20

LATIN ACADEMY (7-3) AT CHARLESTOWN (0-10)
ESPNBoston.com Colleges Reporter Jack McCluskey, Latin Academy Class of 2004:
The annual Thanksgiving game is always a big one, no matter the teams' record going into it. But the fact Charlestown comes into the 2012 edition of the game against Latin Academy at 0-10, having been shut out in two consecutive weeks, takes a bit of the luster off the matchup. The Dragons are 7-3, and beat both the teams that just shut out Charlestown (South Boston and Madison Park). So I'm picking the Dragons, led by quarterback Kyle Dance (27 total TDs this season), to win in relatively easy fashion this week. Latin Academy, 24-6

NO. 4 READING (10-0) AT STONEHAM (7-3)
ESPN Football Recruiting Coordinator Billy Tucker, Reading Class of 1992
: The Spartans have greatly improved but the Rockets, one of the state's best, will soar on Turkey Day. Reading, 35-7

CANTON (2-6) AT NO. 15 STOUGHTON (9-1)
ESPN RecruitingNation Associate Editor David Auguste, Stoughton Class of 2001: There’s just something about Canton that brings out the best in Stoughton’s running backs on Thanksgiving Day. Stoughton grad and former NFL player Ryan LaCasse found the end zone four times in a 39-0 rout in 2000, while Joe Jeudy reached pay dirt four and five times in successive contests (2006-07) more recently. That trend bodes well for seniors Frank Morris (13 TDs this year) and Aaron Mack, who became part of the T-Day TD brigade with a four-score effort last year. No. 15 Stoughton easily extends its streak in the series to eight games and clinches its 10th win with a rout of the Bulldogs. Stoughton, 47-14

WESTFORD (7-3) AT ACTON-BOXBOROUGH (7-3)
ESPN Recruiting Director David Geaslen, Acton-Boxborough Class of 1983:
Westford at Acton-Boxborough won't have any bearing on the Dual County League title, but bragging rights for a second year in a row will belong to the Colonials. Two evenly matched seven-win teams may be decided by a Jake Perry field goal at home. A-B, 17-14

ARCHBISHOP WILLIAMS (5-3) AT CARDINAL SPELLMAN (5-5)
ESPNBoston.com Account Executive Derek Tardanico, Archbishop Williams Class of 1992:
Finally Archies breaks a terrible two year losing streak and knocks off Spellman. It's about time Archies found a talented running back from Randolph, it's been since the early 90's since they had their last good one (hint, hint). Archies, 26-13

PEMBROKE (6-3) AT SILVER LAKE (0-9)
ESPN Boston correspondent Tom Layman, Silver Lake Class of 2002
: There was a time when Pembroke kids lived in harmony with the rest of their Silver Lake brethren. That time is no more, and the rivalry will continue to be one-sided in the Titans' favor. Bob Bancroft has Pembroke headed in the right direction with two straight postseason berths. Cory Brandon and Brian Tinkham should have big games to send my Lakers to 0-10 on the season. Pembroke, 28-10

TRITON (1-9) AT PENTUCKET (5-5)
ESPN Boston correspondent Greg Story, Triton Class of 2002:
For three straight years from 1999-2001, the Pentucket Sachems ruined Thanksgiving for myself and my teammates of the Triton Vikings, en route to Superbowl appearances for Steve Hayden's bunch each year. If how this season has played out so far for both teams is any indication, the bus ride home from West Newbury for the Vikings (1-9) won't be any more enjoyable for this year's team than it was for us. I was very impressed by what I saw from Sachems' running back Cody Rothwell in a game earlier this year, not so much by a Triton offensive line that is obviously going through growing pains right now. Pentucket, 27-12

WELLESLEY (6-4) AT NEEDHAM (7-3)
ESPN Boston correspondent James Walsh, Needham Class of 2002:
This Thanksgiving will be the 125th meeting between the two oldest high school rival's in the country. Wellesley has come on strong towards the end of the season winning four straight but I don't think they'll have an answer for Needham's Mike Panepinto. Not many teams do. Wellesley leads the all time series 59-56-9, but Needham has won 4 out of the last 5. Needham, 28-21

BISHOP STANG (1-9) AT BISHOP FEEHAN (7-2)
ESPN Boston correspondent Josh Perry, Bishop Feehan Class of 1997:
Bishop Feehan has been switching Thanksgiving Day opponents seemingly since I left in 1997. Hopefully, Bishop Stang can be a consistent game to end the season for the Shamrocks. Feehan won the battle of top teams in the EAC last time out against Somerset and this will be the conference title clincher so no chance of the Shamrocks overlooking Stang. No great analysis here, Feehan is just a much better team. Feehan, 35-7

CONCORD-CARLISLE (4-6) AT BEDFORD (7-3)
ESPN Boston correspondent Ryan Kilian, Concord-Carlisle Class of 1996:
Concord-Carlisle nearly pulled off the upset of DCL Large champion Lincoln-Sudbury last time out, and came one yard away from defeating DCL Small champ, Wayland. C-C has won the last three meetings between the two teams on Thanksgiving Day. The Patriots are led by senior captains Evan Boynton and Tom Crowley. Bedford has had another strong season and is led by impressive junior running back Olan Abner. Abner leads the Bucs with 19 touchdowns this season. C-C, 28-17

BRIDGEWATER-RAYNHAM (5-5) AT NO. 6 BROCKTON (7-3)
ESPN Boston correspondent Ryan Lanigan, Brockton Class of 2007:
The Boxers and Trojans will meet again on Thanksgiving, only for the third straight year -- infant status compared to most rivals. Bridgewater-Raynham has surprisingly taken the first two battles of the war and this year has shaken up to be an interesting one. No playoff implications will be on the line as Brockton is headed to the post-season already while B-R has challenged the best in the state throughout the regular season. I think Austin Roberts is one of the best players you'll find in this state, and I don't think the fact that the Boxers are playoff bound will make them put their foot on the brake. I'm clearly biased but I believe that the third time will be the charm. Brockton, 35-21

DRACUT (2-8) AT METHUEN (2-8)
ESPN Boston correspondent Andy Smith, Dracut Class of 2006:
You can have the Celtics-Lakers, Bruins-Canadiens, and Red Sox-Yankees rivalries. I’m taking Dracut-Methuen. So what if these two teams have each won two games all season? Whoever wins this game will end their season on a high note and be able to call it a borderline success. Having said that, give me Dracut, my alma mater, and its spread attack against a Methuen team that has scored above 22 points only once all season. Dracut, 24-14
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