2 Philly public high schools square off for longest-standing Thanksgiving Day football rivalry in US

Pat Loeb
November 28, 2019 - 3:59 pm
City Councilmember Al Taubenberger Northeast High School and Central High School.

Pat Loeb/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Philadelphia has a Thanksgiving tradition older, even, than the parade. In fact, it's one of the oldest event of its kind in the country. 

Thanksgiving is a big day for high school football, and one of the oldest games in the country is between Northeast High School and Central High School.

"It's 124 years. This is the 125th game here," explained City Councilmember Al Taubenberger, a Northeast alum who comes to the game every year. 

"It's been such a great tradition, so many years this game's been played and it's really, truly a rivalry. A lot of these kids come from this very neighborhood, on the Northeast and the Central side," he said.

It's a lopsided rivalry. Northeast has dominated for the last 20 years. 

But Northeast alumnus Melvin Easy says it's a rivalry nonetheless.

"Just like the Eagles playing Dallas, it's serious. Nothing personal, we just play to win," Easy said. 

Northeast High School alum watching the football game between Northeast High School and Central High School.
Pat Loeb/KYW Newsradio

His friend, Michael DeShields, says the score is secondary to the reunions taking place in the stands. 

"We always show love to where we come from and its great to see these guys once a year. It's wonderful. We're all here together," DeShields said. 

Northeast continued its streak, beating Central 36 to 16.