‘It’s all you hear about’- Needham and Wellesley gear up for nation’s oldest HS football rivalry

NEEDHAM -- The night before Thanksgiving is all about buying the essentials, but in Needham high school football is just as exciting as the big meal.

“I’m really excited, the rivalry, it’s one of the biggest things about living in Needham, it’s all you hear about every year on Thanksgiving,” said Nolan Gallagher, a senior at Needham High. “I think I’ve been to every single game since I’ve lived here.”

This year, Gallagher will be playing for Needham in the big Thanksgiving day game against their rival – Wellesley.

“It’s kind of a lot of pressure to be playing in it, but I’m really excited,” said Gallagher.

“People get so excited for it, there were thousands of people there last year,” said Thomas Lahaise, who plans on going to the game.

Wellesley and Needham have a long history together on the field as the nation’s oldest public school rivalry – playing each other for the 135th time Thursday.

“Everyone goes, yeah it’s a huge game, so it should be exciting to watch, go Wellesley!” said Louis Fay, who played or Wellesley.

Last year, Wellesley beat Needham in overtime, so the hype this year is big.

“We had a heartbreaking loss last year, but I think we’ll finally win this year,” said Thomas Lahaise.

Either way – the excitement for the game and the holiday is great for small businesses in town.

“I can tell you we’ve seen a lot of beer sales today, so I’m pretty sure it’s for like a football game for tomorrow,” said Vikrant Rana, manager at Needham Fine Wines.

While families plan on gathering for another epic game, it’ll be an even bigger deal for seniors like Gallagher.

“Today was the last practice, that was pretty emotional, coaches made a bunch of speeches and the mood was kind of sad because I realized I’m never really going to be on this field again so tomorrow will be that last game and that’ll be really emotional,” said Gallagher.

Wellesley plays at Needham Thursday at 10AM.

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