It is a historic rivalry that is supposed to be family-friendly, but the Needham-Wellesley football game turned ugly on Thanksgiving Day.
Wellesley, the home team, was up 27 to nothing when fists started flying with two minutes left in the game. Officials decided to call the game before the clock ran out due to the bench-clearing brawl, leaving some fans disappointed.
“I was surprised, very surprised,” football fan Sue Petros said after seeing video of the brawl. “It’s a shame that anything happens that would involve hurting the sportsmanship of the game.”
She and many other fans hope the teams turn it into a learning experience.
“At the end of the day, it’s the parents and coaches responsibility to go back to the kids and tell them, ‘This isn’t what you do. Going forward, sportsmanship is key,’” Greg Wise of Wellesley said.
Players on the Wellesley team said they were given a lecture about it by their coach after the game.
NBC10 Boston reached out to the Needham and Wellesley football coaches Friday, but did not hear back. The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association said their officials would not be getting involved because they consider it to be a local matter.
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It was the 132nd annual Thanksgiving Day game between the two schools. Their game was not the only one to end with a fight.
The Leominster Fitchburg matchup on Thanksgiving also ended with pushing and shoving.