After today, there are only two Thanksgiving Day rivalry high school football games left in New Jersey.

Pleasantville High School just defeated Ocean City High School 40-21 in their centennial (100th meeting) and final game.

They have decided to move their rivalry game to August, 2023 in the “Battle by the Beach” showcase event.

Millville High School vs. Vineland High School will continue their series which is presently 151 years old.

When this annual Thanksgiving Day game started, the (18th) President of The United States was Ulysses S Grant. Just imagine that.

Holy Spirit High School versus Atlantic City will also continue going forward. Today’s 94th annual meeting was won by Holy Spirit 63-34 at home at Ed Byrnes Stadium. Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President of The United States was in office.

Today was also a record-setting day, as Holy Spirit wide receiver Gavin Roman broke the New Jersey state record for receptions in one season.

Roman caught 10 passes for the game, which gave him 112 receptions for the season. That broke the former state record by exactly 1 reception. The former record holder was Mike O’Brien in 1997.

Holy Spirit head football coach Andrew DiPasquale ends his first season at 9-2, including a trip to the NJSSIA Non-Public semi-final game.

That was today’s final score and head coach “cliff notes,” but, this is where our story really begins.

Holy Spirit knows how to do it right. When the legendary head coach Ed Byrnes died suddenly in February, 1996 of a heart attack, Holy Spirit High School and their close knit community rallied behind The Byrnes Family.

The decision was made to officially name the Holy Spirit football complex … “Ed Byrnes Stadium.”

Holy Spirit High School via Facebook.
Holy Spirit High School via Facebook.

Today’s crowd size and overall enthusiasm at Holy Spirit High School proves why the Thanksgiving game vs. Atlantic City is so meaningful.

This also marks 100 years for Holy Spirit as a high school.

Countless alumni were on hand early for a party this morning in the school cafeteria.

This party, carnival atmosphere spilled out all over the complex. The Holy Spirit bleachers were filled to capacity and the standing room only crowd was as large or larger than those in the bleachers.

Holy Spirit former players, cheerleaders and other alumni from many generations attended.

Holy Spirit High also held a beautiful naming ceremony at half-time after Andy Applegate.

Applegate served for 37 years as the Holy Spirit football Public Address Announcer.

Holy Spirit officially named the press box “Holy Spirit Spartans Applegate Press Box.”

This is in keeping with how Holy Spirit always does the right thing.

Harry Hurley TSM
Harry Hurley TSM

Steve Normane, Holy Spirt Director of Athletics surprised Applegate and asked him to return to the press box and handle the PA announcing duties for the second half of today’s game.

The crowd met Applegate’s return with widespread approval.

Harry Hurley TSM
Harry Hurley TSM

Today’s jubilant atmosphere at Holy Spirit High School served notice as to why the Thanksgiving Day game is so important.

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