The Norwich Free Academy Wildcats faced off against the New London Whalers in the oldest football rivalry in the United States on Thanksgiving day, in front of over 3,000 fans in attendance. This was to be the 150th meeting between the two teams since the rivalry began in 1875. Both teams came into the game with a lot on the line; New London needing a win to make the playoffs, and Norwich playing to be the number one seed entering the Connecticut state playoffs.


Orrin Parke
New London


Colby Britt

Norwich Free Academy

Keith Verdini

New London


Matthew Saughnessy

Norwich Free Academy

Tommie Major

New London


The game was a defensive battle throughout with the Wildcats and Whalers both being shut down on their own 1 yard line as they tried to put the first points on the board; the game went into half-time with the score knotted at 0-0. New London came out in the second half with a chip on their shoulders, as they knew a win was all that could keep their season going. Game MVP, Orrin Parke scored the games first touchdown with a 22 yard run in the third quarter as he lead the way for the Whalers. However, the Norwich Free Academy Wildcats answered right away scoring a TD of their own making the score 7-6 for NFA. The game came down to a 40 yard field goal from New London’s Garrett Burdick with only 5 minutes left on the clock. NFA was unable to answer as the game went final, giving New London the 9-7 victory and a birth in the Connecticut state playoffs.