THE SENIORS will lead the Warriors into the 61st Thanksgiving Day game tomorrow morning at their home Landrigan Field. Pictured in the front row from left to right is Dom DeVito, Matt Beede, Leo Yardumian, Bryan Lynch, Chris Amyouny, Nathan Aliberti and Josh Catino. In the back row from left is Jack Huckins, Nathan Ickes, Tim Connolly, Luke Ickes, Jack Berinato and James Buckley. (Brian Cusack Photo)
Game: Wakefield vs. Melrose
When: Thursday, 10:15 a.m.
Where: Landrigan Field
Narrative: The 5-4 Wakefield Warriors host 3-7 Melrose in the 61st Thanksgiving Day game. It is the rivalry’s 111th all-time meeting dating back 120 years to 1901. Melrose has the all-time series lead 62-41-7. Wakefield has the edge in Thanksgiving games, which started in 1960 with 31 wins to Melrose’s 26. There have been three ties on Thanksgiving, the most recent one being the most famous as the 14-14 tie in 1999 resulted in a coin flip to decide who would go on to the Super Bowl.
Wakefield is 1-0 on coin flips to decide the outcome.
Melrose has been victorious in the last eight Thanksgiving Day games. Wakefield’s last win on Turkey Day was in 2011.
The Red Raiders have won 11 games in a row against the Warriors dating back to 2013, including a 35-0 victory in their last matchup during the 2021 spring football season known as Fall 2.
It will be the first Thanksgiving Day game since 2019 – 728 days in-between contests.
The Warriors started their season 4-1 with wins over Greater Lawrence, Belmont, Burlington and Winchester. They finished their regular season with back-to-back overtime losses to Wilmington and Watertown. Wakefield was rated as the No. 17 team in Div. 3, the first team out of the 16-team bracket.
Wakefield fell to Peabody and beat Waltham in two consolation games to finish up the season.
Melrose finished their regular season at 2-6 with wins over Malden and Burlington. The Red Raiders lost to Reading, Lincoln-Sudbury, Stoneham, Wilmington, Watertown and Woburn. They also played two consolation games, losing to Lynn English and beating Arlington to end their season at 3-7.
It’s the first time since 2010 that Melrose enters Thanksgiving with a losing record.
The Warriors have accounted for 52 touchdowns this season.
Senior captain Leo Yardumian rushed for over 1,000 yards and 12 TD’s. He also added a receiving touchdown and two interception returns for scores.
Junior quarterback Javin Willis has 10 passing TD’s and six rushing TD’s.
Junior running back Bobby DeFeo has three rushing TD’s and a kickoff return for a TD.
Junior running back Nathan Delgado has two rushing TD’s.
Sophomore WR Steven Woish, senior captain WR Bryan Lynch and junior TE Ian Dixon all have three receiving TD’s. Lynch also has two interception TD returns.
Junior WR/DB Christian Delgado has a receiving TD and a pick six. He led the Warriors with six interceptions this season.
Senior WR/DB Jack Berinato also has a pick six.
Wakefield’s Law Firm Line includes senior brothers Luke Ickes and Nathan Ickes, senior captain Chris Amyouny and his brother, junior David Amyouny. Junior Kaiden Johnson also starts on the offensive line.
The defensive line is led by the Ickes brothers, Chris Amyouny and Ian Dixon. Together, they have created a formidable front seven this season along with linebackers Lynch, Yardumian and senior Nathan Aliberti.
Sophomore Mark Letchford also rotates at linebacker. He had a rushing TD against Peabody and has had a great season as Wakefield’s place kicker.
The 61st Thanksgiving Day game will also include halftime shows from Wakefield’s award-winning cheerleading team, dance team and the Warrior Marching Band.