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High School Football Returns To Fenway Park, Thanksgiving Rivalries Renewed

BOSTON (CBS) - It's not often that pre-game warmups are this exhilarating. "You know, this is a once in a lifetime chance," said East Boston High School senior Daniel Pedronio. "And it's going to be my last game so playing here is just crazy."

But for eight Massachusetts high school teams over the next two nights, it'll be football in the shadow of the famous Green Monster, where goal posts and fresh sod have transformed the baseball diamond into a gridiron for local rivalries -- like Eastie against Southie.

"It's amazing," said football dad Sabino Angelico. "What I would've given to play football at Fenway Park."

CHECK: High School Football Scoreboard

High school football at Fenway had taken an 80-year vacation until 2015, when efforts to re-establish it began in earnest.

Fenway Park football
East Boston and South Boston high schools football teams play at Fenway Park (WBZ-TV)

They actually played Thanksgiving high school football at Fenway back in 1912 -- the same year the ballpark opened.

In fact, the high school national championship game was played at Fenway that fall -- which Everett lost.

COVID canceled these games last year. And because of pandemic fears, the Southie coach says he began training camp this fall with only seven players.

"I think we're back to it -- even though you still have to worry about the environment," said head coach Germaine Satterwhite. "But it's great to be back with sports because it's such a big part of our lives. It's huge."

Tonight, though, Mother Nature was the real opponent -- with wind chills worthy of ski goggles -- in the 20's.

"You know what," said East Boston Mom Amy Pelosi, "we're used to it. This is New England."

And like always, leave it to the cheerleaders to put a positive spin on the night -- just happy to touch this historic turf. "It makes us feel professional," one told us. "And cool."

So, even if the game turns out to be a turkey (East Boston beat Southie in the opening game, 50-0) -- the experience delivered something that all the selfies won't do justice.

"It's hard to describe," said Eastie player Joshua de la Cruz. "It's just unreal."

In the second game Tuesday night, North Andover beat Andover 27-26.

Football won't be done here after Thanksgiving. College kids will take over in late December with the first inaugural Wasabi Fenway Bowl, four days after Christmas.

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