Football: Rough Season Ends With Thanksgiving Game At Watertown

Two tough losses set Marauders up for annual contest with Red Raiders.

Senior JD Niles gaining yards against Boston Latin.
Senior JD Niles gaining yards against Boston Latin.
As he was coming off the field at Boston's White Stadium after losing to Boston Latin, 40-29, nearly two weeks ago, Belmont High School interim Head Coach Dean Sacca was already thinking about the annual Thanksgiving Day game with Watertown.

"Watertown is a very, very good team," said Sacca.

"It's going to be very challenging for us but we are up to it. We're going to battle hard. We will take a couple of days off, get healthy and we'll prepare for the Raiders," he said.

In a season in which Sacca said  the team "hasn't caught a break" including seeing Head Coach Kevin Gildae being relieved of his position and their final two games which Belmont surrendered double-digit leads, Sacca is not ready to write off the game with neighboring Watertown.

"It will come to us keeping the ball from hitting the ground," said Sacca, noting that Belmont has suffered from coughing up the football including giving up a 65-yard fumble for a touchdown to Boston Latin in the final minute of the half. 

"If we can find a rhythm, we can battle with Watertown on offense," said Sacca.

Belmont has shown an ability to score points behind senior running back J.D. Niles who has had an impressive second half of the season including scoring six touchdowns and gaining more 400 all-purpose yards in the final two games against Medford and Boston Latin. In addition, freshman QB Cal Christofori has matured as the season progressed, throwing on-the-mark passes to receivers such as seniors Barrett Lyons and Chris Kelly.

What has hurt the Marauders the most throughout the season has been the numbers game. With less than 30 players dressing due to a number of key injuries, there aren't enough bodies Sacca can put onto the field. 

"We have a lot of guys playing both ways and they get a little gassed at the end of games," said Sacca.  

The Marauders will meet a Watertown team that, after starting the season 4-0, has gone 1-5 in its last six games. The Red Raiders – which played in the Division 4 state tournament – will be seeking to win consecutive Thanksgiving games for the first time in the past decade. 

This year's game will take place at Victory Field in Watertown with kickoff slated at 10:15 a.m. Tickets for adults and students are $8. 

The all-time Thanksgiving Day series between these two teams, which dates back to 1921, is tied at 43-43-5.


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