When the Chelsea High School football team trailed Everett High, 20-0, in the 1980 Thanksgiving game, few fans at Chelsea Memorial Stadium thought a Red Devil comeback was possible.
But the crowd of 8,500 spectators would soon witness offensive exploits that would turn this holiday rivalry upside down.
Chelsea quarterback Richard Maronski rifled a 63-yard touchdown pass to Paul Driscoll to ignite the Chelsea rooting section. Maronski then tossed a pass to Butchie Strukel for a two-pointer to close the gap to 20-8.
But Maronski and Driscoll were just getting started. On the next possession, Maronski connected with Driscoll for a 52-yard strike, bringing Chelsea to within one score, 20-14.
With coach Bobby Fee imploring his Chelsea squad to keep the pressure on the Everett defense, it was Maronski again with an 8-yard TD pass to Driscoll. Edwin Lopez booted the PAT to give Chelsea a 21-20 halftime lead.
After intermission, Bobby Fee’s Red Devils would not be denied, adding two more rushing touchdowns by Tony DiRienzo and Scott Leonard to build a 34-20 lead going in to the fourth quarter. Everett scored its last touchdown with five minutes left, but Chelsea ran out the clock on its greatest-ever comeback victory.
Maronski vividly remembers the final game of his junior season.
“What I remember most was the players carrying coach Fee off the field right after the game ended,” recalled Maronski. “And I loved the kids I played football with at Chelsea High. We were very close and to beat Everett made our careers special. They say if you beat Everett you have a winning season and we were able to do that in dramatic fashion.”
As for his three successive touchdown passes to his friend and classmate, Paul Driscoll, Maronski says, “The offensive line [Danny Hurton, Kerry Cole, Keith Barry, Bobby Carolan, Glenn Smith] and our fullback [Greg DePatto] gave me excellent pass protection and I was able to deliver the passes to Paul, who was great that day.”
Maronski, who now serves on the Chelsea School Committee, said the Chelsea-Everett rivalry was special.
“Anyone who played in this series knows what a big game it was,” said Maronski. “The 1980 game is something we all will never forget. I was so happy for
all the kids, the city of Chelsea, and coach Fee on that day.”
The Chelsea-Everett rivalry ended in 1989, but the memories of this glorious game on a cold and blustery Thanksgiving day at Chelsea Memorial Stadium will live on forever.