No feel­ing of fi­nal­ity for Pen­nridge this Thanks­giv­ing

News-Herald (Perkasie, PA) - - OPINION - By An­drew Marcus

Not to dis­credit the pas­sion­ate ri­valry be­tween Pen­nridge and Quak­er­town, but this football sea­son has taught us that feast­ing on Pan­ther Thanks­giv­ing morn­ing may not be the ul­ti­mate rea­son the 82 meet­ings prior to this Thurs­day have been so spe­cial for the Rams.

Se­niors know there is at least one more game await­ing them af­ter they play the Pan­thers, and even though the game will be for sole pos­ses­sion of the Subur­ban One Con­ti­nen­tal Con­fer­ence league ti­tle, the feel­ing of fiQDOiWy is QRW WhHrH.

On Satur­day the Rams will host Spring-Ford in the Dis­trict One Class AAAA sHPi­fiQDOs. YHs, WhHy wDQW WR wiQ WhH OHDJuH RuWriJhW. YHs, they want to taint the PanWhHrs’ fiQDO JDPH DW AOuPQi Field. But no, it will not be the last game for the Rams.

“2ur firsW JRDO is WR wiQ the league and we are up for the chal­lenge,” Rams’ se­nior cap­tain John Dubyk said. “It is Quak­er­town’s last game and I know they will be ready. Hope­fully we can get off to a good start and get ev­ery­body a chance to play.”

PriRr WR WhH RDPs’ firsW sHPi­fiQDO DSSHDrDQFH siQFH 2004, nearly ever Ram on the ros­ter pointed to pre­vi­ous Thanks­giv­ing games as their fa­vorite football mem­ory. While play­ing the Pan­thers may not be ideal, once they hit the frozen grass Thurs­day morn­ing with the Quak­er­town fans firHd uS, DQd HxWHQdHd IDP-

fam­ily back home, it will be im­pos­si­ble to not re­mem­ber why this game is such a big part of this community.

“Records are thrown out in a ri­valry game,” ju­nior tackle Shane Kraynik said. “Last year was pretty spe­cial be­cause it was at the end of the sea­son when both teams had noth­ing to play for. vou just wanted to beat your crosstown ri­val.”

The 83rd an­nual meet­ing may put a twist to tradition, but a few things will not change. The Wed­nes­day QLJKW ERQ­firH Ls sWLOO sFKHGuled, the two com­mu­ni­ties will take up ev­ery inch of the bleach­ers, and the play­ers will still never for­get the morn­ing they played the Pan­thers.

“vou look around and it’s a zoo,” Kraynik said. “The game has an amaz­ing at­mos­phere. I think it is a great game and it shouldn’t go any­where.”

Rams’ se­nior Andy Graff came up through the Pen­nridge Green­jack­ets youth football pro­gram, but does not re­call at­tend­ing the Thanks­giv­ing football game un­til he reached high school and learned from his elder class­men what the game was all about. Graff learned the game was one last time to go to bat­tle with team­mates that have be­come fam­ily.

“Once I got into ninth grade I started sup­port­ing Pen­nridge more,” Graff said. “My brother Rusty al­ways went to the games. My fam­ily is gi­gan­tic and we usu­ally eat on Fri­day be­cause of the game, but I think this year we are go­ing to try and squeeze it in.”

The Rams’ abil­ity to harp on the mean­ing of fam­ily this sea­son has them in this predica­ment all teams would wish upon them­selves. Graff and John Dubyk head­line a tal­ented de­fense, but it is the Rams’ co­he­sive­ness that has helped them take the pro­gram to un­charted heights.

“I have played football sLQFH , wDs fiYH DQG WKLs Ls the best team I have ever played on,” Graff said. “Ev­ery year there seems to EH sRPH FRQflLFW, EuW WKLs year there has not been any. We all are in high spir­its and just loved. These are my broth­ers.”

Spring-Ford also will play Thanks­giv­ing eve, which may ease coach Cuth­bert’s mind slightly know­ing their sHPL­fiQDO RSSRQHQW Ls LQ WKH same boat. How­ever coach wRuOG OLNH WR fiQG D wDy WR ac­com­mo­date the best of both worlds.

Coach has thrown out the idea of sched­ul­ing Quak­er­town in week four and on Thanks­giv­ing in case a spe­cial sea­son like this hap­pens again. Cuth­bert rec­og­nizes the im­por­tance of Thanks­giv­ing football to the community, but also rec­og­nizes how ex­cep­tional the group he has is this year.

“It is not ideal to have two games in three days,” Cuth­bert said. “There is a good ar­gu­ment to not have a Thanks­giv­ing Day game any­more. The one year when you have a spe­cial group of kids and now we are in a bad spot.”

With the site for the Thanks­giv­ing game al­ter­nat­ing in year, Poppy voder was not sup­posed to get so much ac­tiv­ity in Novem­ber. But thanks to the Rams’ play­off run, they now have ex­tended time at their beloved home be­yond the fourth Thurs­day in Novem­ber.

“I am emo­tional be­cause I went to South Mid­dle School and have been play­ing at Poppy voder since seventh grade,” Graff sDLG. “TKH fiHOG PHDQs some­thing to all of us. It is our home.”

And home, with fam­ily, at Thanks­giv­ing is where ev­ery­one wants to be.

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