By Max Bowenfirstname.lastname@example.org
North Attleborough and Attleboro commemorated 100 years of football last weekend with the Century Game.
The two teams met on Saturday, April 24, at Community Field in North Attleborough. The game is one of two that the Red Rocketeers and Blue Bombardiers will play, with the second to take place on Thanksgiving Day at the Tozier-Cassidy Field at Attleboro High School. Overall, North Attleborough has won more than 60 of the 100 Thanksgiving Day games that the two teams have played.
North played a dominant game, besting Attleboro 28-7. The two teams were tied in the first quarter, but North took control with three more touchdowns and retained it. Varsity Football Coach Donald Johnson said that this year has been an emotional roller coaster ride for the team, which had its season delayed until March by the pandemic.
In winning the game, the Red Rocketeers earned the right to display the Hilda Gay Trophy, named in honor of Hilda Gay, a longtime supporter of the teams who began a tradition of the pre-game breakfast in her home in 1952.
“In that season getting a Hockomock League championship, going undefeated, and then getting a chance for redemption and bring Hilda home,” he said. “So I couldn’t have asked for anything more for these kids.”
Though the crowd was limited to two people for each player, the stands were largely full with family and friends, strongly cheering for the teams. Al Rivera’s son Jovany is on the sub-varsity team that was created for the freshman and junior varsity teams and was one of four invited to join the Century Game. He said it’s been good to see sports return.
“It’s a lot of positive emotions,” he said.
Scottie Provenval’s daughter Kierstyn is on the cheerleading team. He said that it’s been great for the kids to be back on the field.
“It feels a little like old times,” said Provenal.
Co-Captain Harry Bullock said the team put in a lot of work, especially during the bye week that the team earned after winning the Davenport Division Championship when they defeated Foxboro. He said the last season was a disappointing one and that they put a great deal into the current one.
“And so we started the day after Thanksgiving last year and it didn’t stop until today,” said Bullock. “A big focus was our offensive line. We knew we needed a lot of movement. We put a lot of work into it, but I think we did what we needed to do.”
Johnson said that the team is very mature with a lot of experience, and a primary lesson they’ve learned is to take it one game at a time. He added that the defense buckled down after the first touchdown, which put the offense in a good position to succeed. With the game completed, Johnson said the team needs time to recover, as some of the players have spring sports to train for.
“I think these guys need a little rest, I mean, they’ve been training since last December, really, you know, over a year,” said Johnson. “So I think they need a little time to get away from it. I mean half these guys are going to start a spring sport on Monday, you know, so they need to heal up and get ready for baseball practice.”
Bullock said that it it’s important to focus on each play and not consider the game over before it’s over.
“You just got to keep your head,” said Bullock. “To treat every play as if it’s going to be the game winner.”