And it’s strange for many of the players as well.
“It’s definitely a very weird feeling,” said Andover High quad-captain Ben Hartford. “Usually when we face Central, it’s November and it’s chilly out. Now it’s just the middle of September. It’s really strange.”
But that is the reality in the newly realigned playoff system, which sees the Golden Warriors host Central Catholic, along with Pentucket (Triton), Methuen (Dracut), Whittier and Greater Lawrence (each other) and Georgetown (Manchester-Essex) playing their Turkey Day rivals.
Andover and Central have played on Thanksgiving since 1972, with the series tied 20-20-1. Two of the last three years (2010, 12) it has decided the MVC Division 1 title and a playoff berth. Pentucket leads their holiday series against the Vikings 23-13-1
“This really takes some getting used to,” said Central star D’Andre Drummond-Mayrie. “We are excited to play them again because we had a really tough loss last year. But it’s still weird to play them so early.”
Off and running
Methuen has opened the season 3-0 heading into tomorrow’s matchup with Dracut. This marks the Rangers’ best start since the 1998 season when they also won their first three on the way to going 8-3. Methuen won just three games each of the last two seasons.
For a video interview with Methuen’s Johnny Maginnis, along with video highlights, visit eagletribune.com/sports
Football twitter tracker
Want to follow the action from this weekend’s action? Eagle-Tribune reporters who will be live tweeting these games:
Central Catholic at Andover
Hector Longo (@MVcreature) and David Willis (@DWillisET)
North Reading at Newburyport
Mike McMahon (@MikeMcMahonCHN)
Methuen vs. Dracut
Hector Longo (@MVcreature)
Pentucket vs. Triton
David Willis (@DWillisET)
Brooks vs. Nobles
Mike McMahon @MikeMcMahonCHN
Sanborn at Monadnock, 7 p.m.