Winchester and Woburn are more than just old firm friends for Massachusetts rivals. They tend to make for compelling Thanksgiving theater because they’re so evenly matched, too.
On Thursday, the teams couldn’t be separated after four quarters. Then it took extended drama to eventually pick a winner, with Winchester quarterback Tommy Degnan scoring a game-winning touchdown during the second overtime period as the Sachems escaped with a 27-21 victory.
Winchester runs past Woburn in Mass. rivalry par excellence on frigid Turkey Day
It didn’t seem like it was going to end that way. After a see-saw regulation, Woburn was best positioned to escape with the Thanksgiving Day win on a final fourth quarter drive. Then the Tanners’ momentum stalled, setting up a 38 yard field goal attempt to all but officially win with just 31 seconds left in regulation.
It missed. And rather than try to burn up the frozen turf for a last ditch winner in regulation, Winchester opted to play for extra time.
That’s when the drama truly ratcheted up. Both teams scored a rushing touchdown on their first OT possession — Degnan for Winchester and Arthur Amaral on a tense third and goal for the Tanners — but neither team could score on a two-point attempt to win.
Woburn got to start the second overtime period, but couldn’t get through the teeth of the Winchester defense, eventually leading to a fourth and goal attempt from the 20 that fell short. All Winchester needed was some score to win, and they got it — from Degnan of course.
The quarterback was the difference in the 2018 edition of a rivalry that has been played annually since 1893. Degnan finished with all of Winchester’s points, all on quarterback keepers. And the last one set of the kind of celebratory delirium that he and his teammates spend a full season dreaming of.
The Sachems’ win wraps up their season with a winning record at 6-5 while Woburn concludes with a 4-6 mark.
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“Any time we can win one [against Woburn], it feels good,” Winchester coach Wally Dembowski said.
On a cold and windy day, Winchester played two quarterbacks, senior Tony Fiorentino and junior Tommy Degnan. But the Sachems leaned on a ground attack spearheaded by Degnan (14 carries, 85 yards), who delivered a 10-yard scoring burst in the second quarter, a game-tying 3-yard run in the fourth quarter, both touchdowns in the extra sessions, capped by a 1-yard clincher in the second OT.
Leading 8-7 at the half, Woburn (4-6) opened up a 15-7 lead on a 16-yard pass from Ryan Qualey to Tyler Parrish (2 TDs).
Later, a Winchester punt backed up Woburn inside its 5. But the host Tanners turned to a bit of trickery. Senior back Ryan Ludwig received an outside pitch from Qualey and completed a third-down conversion to Parrish. Then Ludwig took the ball into Winchester territory with a long run.
Woburn had the momentum. But Winchester forced a game-changing fumble at the 38. Degnan then capped the Sachems’ drive with his tying run.
With 35 seconds left and the score tied at 15-15, Woburn failed to convert a 34-yard field goal into a crosswind that went under the crossbar.
Degnan and Arthur Amaral traded scores in the first overtime, but neither team converted its 2-point tries. In the second OT, Woburn failed to score, and Degnan marched into the end zone to secure the win.
“Awful way to end but I’m so proud of the seniors,” Woburn coach Jack Belcher said. “They did everything we’ve asked them.”
Austin Prep 14, Shawsheen 8 — In the final game of his 40-year head coaching career, Bill Maradei recorded his 270th win as the host Cougars (5-6) won the first game of their new rivalry with the Rams (4-7) in North Reading. The state’s winningest Catholic school coach from his time at the former Dom Savio and Prep, he is ninth in state history in wins.
Bedford 49, Concord-Carlisle 12 — Tim Hays (112 rushing yards, 4 touchdowns) and Christian Gemelli (122 yards, 2 touchdowns) each had stellar games for the Patriots (5-5) in the 46th rivalry game against the Bucs (3-8).
Belmont 33, Watertown 20 — Facing a 20-0 first-quarter deficit after Watertown successfully executive three consecutive onside kicks, the host Marauders (5-7) stormed back for the Middlesex League victory on short scoring runs in the fourth quarter from Killian OConnell (2 TDs) and Avery Arno (2 TDs). Arno’s 1-yard blast put Belmont on top, 26-20.
Brockton 13, Bridgewater-Raynham 10 — Senior quarterback Mike Norman Jr. scored the go-ahead touchdown from 2 yards with 18 seconds remaining to lead the host Boxers (6-4). Junior Ajani Horne scored on a 65-yard fumble recovery in the third quarter to set up the win.
Cape Cod Tech 6, Upper Cape 0 — Archer Estinvil scampered for 150 yards on 25 carries in the eighth meeting between Upper Cape (6-6) and Cape Cod Tech (4-7).
Catholic Memorial 37, BC High 15 — Junior quarterback Barrett Pratt had three passing touchdowns and one rushing score to lead the second-ranked Knights (9-2) over host BC High (4-8). CM will play St. John’s Prep in the Division 1 Super Bowl a week from Saturday.
In the first half, Pratt plunged in from 2 yards and connected with senior Khari Johnson (2 catches, 70 yards) on a 16-yard pass.
Chelmsford 6, Billerica 0 — In the teams’ 90th meeting, senior kicker Kevin Hennessey booted field goals of 27 (second quarter) and 33 yards (fourth quarter) to lift the host Lions (3-8). He finished with 106 career points. Billerica finished 2-7.
Dartmouth 14, Fairhaven 13 — When the Blue Devils fumbled a double-pass on a 2-point attempt with 4:48 left in the fourth quarter, senior captain Nathan Oliver scooped up the ball and went the distance for 2 points, lifting the Indians (4-7) in the 86th game in the rivalry.
Dover-Sherborn 17, Medfield 0 — The Raiders (7-4) etched a shutout to conclude the season, ending it with a three-game winning streak.
Duxbury 42, Marshfield 22 — The host Dragons (11-1) had dropped five straight in the 34-year series, but regrouped after their recent loss in the Division 3 semifinals.
After missing the bulk of the season with a broken collarbone, senior Colin Ball registered a key interception late in the first quarter. On the next play, quarterback John Roberts hit Will Prouty for a 50-yard strike and a 14-0 lead.
Junior Tim Landolfi, who finished with 19 carries for 136 yards and two touchdowns, scored midway through the second quarter to guide Duxbury to a commanding 21-0 halftime edge. Marshfield (4-7) still holds a 17-15-2 series lead.
Everett 32, Masconomet 0 — Seniors Mike Sainristil and Isaac Seide rushed for two touchdowns apiece to pace the Crimson Tide (10-1).
Hanover 20, Norwell 7 — Senior quarterback Andrew Carroll had a hand in for all three touchdowns for the Indians (7-4).
Hopkinton 21, Ashland 6 — Ryan Kelleher finished the 93rd Thanksgiving meeting against the Clockers (8-3) with 190 passing yards on 11 completions. Brendan Kelly had 117 receiving yards and two TDs on five catches to boost the Hillers (7-4).
Holliston 29, Westwood 0 — Tristan Benson scored on runs of 13 and 23 yards for the Panthers (9-1) in the Tri-Valley League win.
Ipswich 36, Hamilton-Wenham 0 — In the 44th installment of the Thanksgiving rivalry, the Tigers (8-3) dominated to clinch a share of the Cape Ann League’s Baker Division title with H-W.
After Ipswich recovered the ensuing onside kick, senior quarterback Ben Yanakakis hit receiver Isaiah Morrissey across the middle for a 42-yard TD.
Latin Academy 28, OBryant 8 — Zach Maffeo (2 rushing touchdowns) and the Dragons (6-5) outdueled his twin brother, Luke, and the Tigers (4-6) for their first win in the rivalry’s five-year history.
Lexington 40, Burlington 27 — Senior Anthony Bianchi racked up five total touchdowns for the Minutemen (7-4). The QB finished with 22 rushing touchdowns and 11 passing.
Lowell 24, Haverhill 8 — Senior Brendan Tighe had two receiving touchdowns and a touchdown pass as the Red Raiders (6-5) earned their 53rd win in the series’ 107-year history.
Malden 28, Medford 24 — Justin Nortelus (152 passing yards, 3 touchdowns) and his four total touchdowns propelled the Golden Tornadoes to their first win of the year in the 131st game in the rivalry.
Minuteman 44, Mystic Valley 8 — In the 12th meeting, the Mustangs (6-5) halted a four-game skid in the series on two touchdowns apiece from Darion Cassius and Danny Johanson for the program’s best finish since 2013.
New Bedford 32, Durfee 6 — Latrell Canto scored on runs of 34 and 3 yards and finished the season with 1,088 rushing yards for the Whalers (6-5).
North Quincy 33, Quincy 8 — Sophomore Tyler Le had two fumble recoveries and an interception to lead the Red Raiders (5-6) in the 84th meeting. Senior Tim Layden (45-yard interception return TD, 7-yard rushing TD) and senior Win Tran (two rushing TDs) powered the offense.
Peabody 38, Saugus 6 — Sophomore quarterback Alex DeNisco threw for a career-best 160 yards and two touchdowns, leading the Tanners (5-6) to their 46th win in their 73-year rivalry with Saugus.
Pope John 26, Matignon/Saint Joseph Prep 0 — John Smith-Howell rushed for two touchdowns and eclipsed 1,000 rushing yards on the season for the Tigers (12-0).
Revere 18, Winthrop 6 — Senior Darius McNeil rushed for 100-plus yards to help the Patriots (7-4) finish with their best record since 1981.
Rockland 33, East Bridgewater 6 — Junior captain Dante Vasquez rushed for 186 yards and three touchdowns and threw for 45 yards and another score as the Bulldogs (6-5) won their sixth straight.
Silver Lake 25, Pembroke 8 — Junior Michael Cambria ran for two TDs and 96 yards on 14 carries to power the Lakers (3-8).
Stoughton 28, Canton 7 — Senior Jeff Grier rushed for touchdowns of 66, 18 and 78 yards for the Black Knights (4-7).
Tech Boston 48, Cathedral 6 — Marcus Gonzalez (174 yards, 3 TDs) surpassed 2,000 rushing yards for the season as the Bears (6-5) rolled.
Tewksbury 43, Wilmington 0 — Brian Aylward recorded his 150th career win and his son, Shane, broke the program record for receptions in a season as the Redmen (11-1) earned their 50th win in the 86th installment of this rivalry.
Weymouth 35, Walpole 14 — Sophomore Christian Quinn totaled 185 yards and three touchdowns to power the Wildcats (2-8) to their fifth win in the 23-year rivalry against the Rebels (6-4).