In The End, A Turkey Day Win is What Matters
The Tigers will take on longtime rival Brookline in their annual Thanksgiving Day game.
The history dates back over 100 years in the battle between the long-time rivals, and every year Peter Capodilupo makes it a point of emphasis to end the season with a bang against their neighbors to the East.
"You can have a losing season, but if you win the Brookline game it's the last thing you remember," said the coach. "I always say that endings are the most important things about a lot of things. For the seniors who have been playing since Pop Warner it's the last time they will play. This game is so important."
The game will take place at 10 a.m. tomorrow in the new Dickinson Stadium at Newton North.
Brookline only sports a 1-9 record on the season, but Capadilupo is worried about the quickness of the visiting Warriors.
"The thing that is dangerous about them is they have speed," said Capadilupo. "Even though their offensive line is young and inexperienced, they've had a whole season to get better."
That means the Tigers will have to implement Capadilupo's number one key in every game: dominating time of possession. Isaiah Penn will be called upon to carry the load offensively out of the running back spot, and don't be surprised to see him line up under center to give the Warriors' defense a thing or two to think about.
Capadilupo also wants to see more improvement in the special teams game, most notably, in the kicking game. He still has nightmares of the 48-6 loss to Natick when the Tigers' started several drives inside their own 15-yard line, which was a recipe for disaster if you don't move the ball effectively.
"We have to hold on to the ball to keep it away from their skill kids," he said. "It's going to be one of those field position kind of games. We can't give a team that's explosive like that the ball too many times."
Playing on Thanksgiving is all about dealing with the emotions of what is sometimes the last time many players will wear a football jersey, and playing and beating Brookline can be a cure-all to a long season.
"That 48 minutes is all that matters," said the coach. "For a moment it's like time stops."
Looking for more Newton North-Brookline rivalry? Check out our feature on the teams' storied history.