hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

November 28, 2013

Giving thanks for more than sports

By Tom O'Brien
The Haverhill Gazette

---- — Many people say Thanksgiving is their favorite holiday.

Some prefer this holiday because it brings family together, it is not as commercialized as other holidays, and there is always plenty of great food. Another reason that gridiron fans in Massachusetts love Thanksgiving Day is high school football. The tradition of playing a rival team in the morning before heading home for turkey dinner has many families looking forward to the day.

Haverhill will face its Thanksgiving Day rival Lowell at home this year. Kickoff is slated for 10 a.m. at Trinity Stadium. Admission will be $7.

The Hillies look to cap their second straight winning season with another victory. They head into the game with an overall record of 6-4. The Hillies were the No. 1 seed in the MIAA Tournament and fell in the Division Semi-Finals to Lincoln Sudbury. Defense has been the strength of the team this year, having surrendered an average of just over 16 points per game. The Hillies have held their opponent to under 10 points four times this year, including a shutout win over Methuen.

Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks. At Haverhill High, we are obviously thankful for the success of our teams as well as all of the individual athletic accomplishments of our student-athletes. But more importantly, as athletic director I am grateful for:

The conduct of our student-athletes, both on and off the playing fields. They constantly represent the Haverhill public schools in a positive manner.

The effort and countless hours put in by our coaches. They truly care about our student-athletes.

The Haverhill School Committee, Superintendent James Scully and Principal Bernie Nangle for making the commitment to lower user fees paid by students to play sports, improve facilities and provide the athletic program the resources needed to succeed.

The game day workers. Athletic events would not take place without ball boys and girls, ticket takers, public address announcers, game supervisors, officials, clock operators and concession stand workers.

The booster clubs, for their tremendous hard work and dedication.

The support of our fans and the community. They attend our events and consistently cheer for our teams in a positive manner.

The parents of our student-athletes. The athletic endeavors of their children would not be possible without their encouragement, cooperation, sacrifices and car pools.

The Haverhill High School facilities staff. Their work on the playing fields, Trinity Stadium and in the buildings provides safe environments for our student-athletes to compete in.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Winter sports tryouts coming

Tryouts for winter sports at the high school will begin on Dec. 2. For complete winter schedules and updates information on Haverhill sports, visit our website at: www.hillies.org

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Tom O’Brien is athletic director at Haverhill High School. He contributes this regular column.