Interboro Vs. Ridley Could Be A Battle This Time Usually, This Thanksgiving Day Game Has Been A Ridley Walkover. It Looks Evenly Matched This Time.

Posted: November 25, 1993

Joe McNicholas and Steve Lennox talk frequently. McNicholas, Ridley's football coach, tells Lennox how good Lennox's Interboro team looks. Lennox tells McNicholas how lucky he would be if his team got a first down against Ridley.

Mere camouflage. When Ridley hosts Interboro at 10:30 a.m. today in the school's annual Thanksgiving Day game, these two successful coaches will be devising ways to beat the stuffing out of each other.

What promises to ignite this season's matchup, besides the neighborhood rivalry between Ridley (9-1 overall) and Interboro (8-2), is that the two teams are evenly matched.

Plus, this season's game marks the 20th anniversary of the only time Interboro beat Ridley. That was a 9-7 victory in 1973, on the day Ridley dedicated its field to former coach Phil Marion, in McNicholas' first season as the Green Raiders' coach.

"We match up well, I think," Interboro receiver Jim Raynor said. "We might even be a little bigger than them. It's a good opportunity for us."

The game could attract 12,000 fans.

Both teams are coming off losses. The Bucs had their eight-game winning streak snapped by Strath Haven, 35-14, in the District 1 Class AAA championship game Friday. Ridley hasn't played in almost two weeks, but its nine-game winning streak was also ended by Strath Haven, in a 35-7 loss on Nov. 12.

Ridley leads the series, which began in 1965, 27-1. The most lopsided of the Green Raiders' victories came last season, when Ridley routed Interboro, 49-0.

Here is a look at the other Thanksgiving Day games.

Malvern Prep (4-6) vs. Archbishop Carroll (7-4), 10 a.m. at Radnor High. Malvern leads the series, 8-1. Carroll's only victory came in 1990, when the Pats last went to the Catholic League championship, which is something they'll do again this season.

"We've only practiced two days," Pats senior linebacker Kevin Ricciotti said. "I think we all want to win and make our record look a little better. Prep takes this game a little seriously, and we're the Southern Division champs, so there will be some pride. We'll try to get in as many players as possible."

Corey Hill, one of the Patriots' top players, will not play today because he is still nursing a dislocated left thumb. But he should be ready for the league title game against three-time Catholic League champ Archbishop Ryan on Dec. 4 at La Salle University.

Upper Merion (8-1-1) at Plymouth-Whitemarsh (8-2), 10 a.m. This series is in only its fourth year, with Plymouth-Whitemarsh holding a 2-0-1 edge. This matchup used be a traditional game when both schools played in the Suburban One League, before the league split into divisions, absorbing teams from the Bux-Mont and Lower Bucks Leagues.

Upper Merion coach Steve Schein's primary concern will be stopping Plymouth-Whitemarsh runners Matt Mathewson and Mark Washington. Each has rushed for more than 1,000 yards this season.

Conestoga (4-6, 4-4 Central League) at Marple Newtown (7-3-1, 4-3-1), 10:30 a.m. This game pits two teams with contrasting styles. Marple Newtown, which leads the series, 8-7-1, likes to pass, using sophomore quarterback Chris Gicking. Conestoga is primarily a running team.

"(Marple Newtown) passes the ball well," Conestoga coach Bob Novotni said. "They have a lot of team speed, which is a major conern. Chris Gicking is a great quarterback, even though he's only a sophomore. It's always a close game, and this year it could be particularly close."

Upper Darby (8-2, 6-2 Central League) at Haverford High (4-5-1, 4-4), 10:30 a.m. Frank Verna needs only 18 yards rushing to reach 1,000 this season for Upper Darby, which has outscored its last two opponents, 60-0. Haverford, which leads the series, 33-29-8, can counter with running back Gary Hammond.

"I expect to win," Upper Darby defensive end Jim Jackominic said. "(But) if Hammond gets out in the open, there is no stopping him."

Academy Park (5-5) at Monsignor Bonner (4-5), 10:30 a.m. at Upper Darby High. Academy Park will be without its top running back, Scott Fillis, who injured an ankle on Nov. 13 in the Knights' loss to Sun Valley. Bonner, which leads the series, 4-0, is playing for a .500 record.

"There's a big difference between 4-6 and 5-5, especially as a senior," Bonner senior running back Kevin Maguire said. "It would be good to go out on a winning note. I don't know that much about (Academy Park), but I do know that they have 35 players and about 20 of them are very good athletes. They're definitely capable of beating us. They played Glen Mills tough. We'll have to play almost a perfect game."

Chichester (3-7, 0-5 Del-Val National) at Sun Valley (5-5-1), 10:30 a.m. This is the last high school game for the Sun Valley passing combination of quarterback Craig Messick and receiver Ron Withelder Jr.

Messick has thrown for 4,813 yards in his three-year career at Sun Valley. Withelder has caught 60 passes this season for 975 yards and 10 touchdowns. Chichester, which leads the series, 20-11, will hope to grind out yardage with running back Marvin Brison and keep Messick and Withelder off the field.

It is a league game for Chichester, but not for Sun Valley.

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