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PREVIEW: Norwich Free Academy vs. New London (CT)

November 25, 2013

NORWICH, CT – The oldest high school football rivalry in the country continues when the Norwich Free Academy Wildcats take on the New London Whalers in the annual “Route 32 Rivalry” on Thursday at 10 a.m. (EST) More than 5,000 fans are expected at Alumni Field for a game that’s part of the 2013 Great American Rivalry Series presented by the U.S. Marine Corps and Hibbett Sports.

Norwich Free Academy has won two of the last three over New London, including last season’s 28-7 rout. The series began back in 1875. The Eastern Connecticut Conference Large Division title will be a stake with both teams going in undefeated.

The Wildcats, coached by Jemal Davis, lost to Xavier 48-14 in the Class LL championship game last season and finished at 12-1. They are 8-1 after winning their sixth in a row, 63-35 over Stonington two weeks ago. Senior back Marcus Outlow rushed for 228 yards and three scores to bring his season total to over 1,300 yards.

The Whalers, coached by Duane Maranda, went 7-3 last and are currently 7-2 and riding a seven-game winning streak. They beat East Lyme 44-24 in their last game, one in which senior Jose Garcia returned a kickoff for a TD (99 yards), a punt for a TD (64 yards) and caught a pair of TD passes to finish with over 130 receiving yards. He has over 600 return yards this season.

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What is the Great American Rivalry Series?

Each fall for over a century, high school football has been the centerpiece for families and communities on Friday night. In 2004, iHigh, Inc. created the Great American Rivalry Series to celebrate this uniquely American sport and the cultural phenomenon of “Friday Night in America.” The Series shines the spotlight on top high school football rivalries across the nation, where long-standing traditions are valued, expectations are sky high, and followers are committed.