Depending on what happens the night before, the Chelsea High football team may or may not be playing for a share of the Commonwealth Athletic Conference title on Thanksgiving morning. If North Shore Tech can beat the heavily favored Northeast Metro RVT on Wednesday, then Chelsea can put itself in a tie with Northeast for the top spot in the CAC by defeating Charlestown. If not, Chelsea will be playing to end their season at 8-2 and be the winners of the first annual Thanksgiving Day game between the Red Devils and the Townies.
Either way, it will be a chance for Chelsea’s fourteen seniors to get on the field and enjoy what could well be the game of their high school football careers. Unless a Northeast loss propels the Red Devils into the playoffs, Thursday’s game will be the swan song of captains Daniel Martinez, Nelson Molina, David Cortez, Felix Torres and Justin Saez, as well as Paco Silva, Darius Carchado, Roberto Flores, Andrew Colon, Vanessa Alfaro, Priscilla Gonzale, Richard Martinez, David Romero and Abe Slitni.
In the last week, rumors began to spread that Charlestown, which has suffered through a winless season, was mulling the option of forfeiting the game, which would have meant that the last game for the seniors was Chelsea’s deflating, 14-12 loss to Northeast on November 13. Head coach Mike Stellato was pleased to learn that Chelsea would the chance to earn its final win of the season, rather than having it given to them by forfeit.
“It’s great for our seniors, and we’re happy that they’re going to get this opportunity,” said Stellato. “The kids have been working hard this week preparing for the game and they’re excited to get back on the field and finish on a good note. This is their day and we’re going to get as many of them in there as possible and get them the opportunity to suit up, one last time, as a Chelsea Red Devil.”
Although Thanksgiving football games are somewhat famous for surprises and upsets, the Thursday’s game would appear to be a significant mismatch in favor of the Red Devils. The Townies have been shutout in every game except for one this season, and have lost their last three games by a combined 118 points.
A close and exciting win is always good for the fans, but any kind of holiday win would be a welcome change for the Red Devils, who have suffered lopsided Thanksgiving defeats at the hands of Saugus High in each of the past two years.
“We haven’t had a good tasting turkey in the last two years,” Stellato joked. “We’ve been eating chicken instead.”
A win for the Red Devils would also give Chelsea its highest win total in a season since the Super Bowl winning campaign of 1995.