Thanksgiving football rivalries on Cape Cod and the Islands
Very early on Thanksgiving morning in 1987, a few years after he had stepped down as head football coach at Barnstable High, Don Dorr gathered his young son, Jayme, and daughter, Lyndsey, out of bed, and drove with them to his sister and brother-in-law’s house in Falmouth. A holiday visit, for sure, but this was no social call. Dorr’s sister, Janet, you see, is married to Ed Winslow, then the head football coach at Falmouth High School.
Classic moments and cherished memories — like the fox that ran on the field — from a century of Thanksgiving games at Cape high schools
At the time, the record in the historic football rivalry between the Barnstable Red Raiders and the Falmouth High Clippers—the Cape’s two largest towns and high schools—stood slightly in Falmouth’s favor: 50 wins, 43 losses, and eight ties. Dorr, who had coached Barnstable from 1977 to 1980, apparently wanted to introduce his children to the rivalry early: Jayme and Lyndsey were 7 and 4, respectively—and it was 4 a.m.
Local Football Rivalries
When the trio arrived in Falmouth, they decorated the Clipper coach’s house in red and white streamers—Barnstable’s colors—and posted several signs on the house and in the yard. Though Dorr and Winslow had been friends for years, the messages were conspicuously one-sided: one sign posed an updated record for the rivalry featuring an extra loss for Falmouth; another simply stated, “Barnstable Rules, Falmouth Drools.”
Such is the rivalry that exists between the football teams of Barnstable and Falmouth High Schools, which have met on the gridiron on most Thanksgiving mornings since 1895. Over the decades, the rivalry has fostered both friendships and fierceness, tradition and tailgating, mutual respect and—in the case of games in 1931 and 1980—the occasional riot. On the following pages, we share some classic moments from the rivalry as well as from two other Turkey Day games on the Cape that, though shorter in duration, do not lack for competitiveness, drama, and a little holiday humor.