Union County football has 5 exciting Thanksgiving Day matchups; Linden, Union, Johnson seeking victories to clinch winning seasons

Roselle is attempting to close with 10 triumphs

Playing football on Thanksgiving means many things.
It’s a time for family and friends to gather before enjoying their holiday meal.
It’s, in most cases, the end of the football season for both teams as many athletes will be trading in their shoulder pads for basketball sneakers, wrestling head gear or ice hockey sticks.
It’s also a time, for people like myself, to say goodbye to this cold weather and look forward to the cozy confines of gymnasiums around Union County.
Keeping Thanksgiving football alive is still a high priority for the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association.
In Union County, 10 of the 17 football playing schools presently still play on Thanksgiving, with five common games the annual menu.
The Westfield-Plainfield rivalry is the second longest in the state behind Millville-Vineland. Roselle Park-Roselle is the eighth longest.

Here’s the schedule of what could be very exciting Turkey Day competition:
Linden at Union, 10:30 a.m.
Roselle at Roselle Park, 10:30 a.m.
Rahway at Johnson, 10:30 a.m.
Gov. Livingston at New Providence, 10:30 p.m.
Westfield at Plainfield, 11 p.m.

Here’s a look at the Thursday’s rivalries:
Linden (5-4) at Union (5-5), 10:30 a.m. at Cooke Memorial Field:
Union and Linden played each other every year on the holiday or holiday weekend from 1932-1990 and then resumed playing on the holiday or holiday weekend in 2002. Union leads the series 36-32-5, with this being game No. 74.
Linden has won three of the last four games.
Thursday’s game has a winning season on the line for both.
Linden beat Union on Thanksgiving last year to end its 2015 season with a two-game winning streak and finish 5-5. The Tigers are seeking a five-game winning streak to close their 2016 campaign.
2015: Linden 35, Union 14 – at Linden

Roselle (9-1) at Roselle Park (3-6), 10:30 a.m. at Herm Shaw Field:
Roselle Park leads the series 51-39-8, with this being game No. 99.
Roselle won last year’s game to snap Roselle Park’s three-game winning streak in the series.
Roselle shut out Roselle Park four years in a row – 2008-2011 – after Roselle Park won five straight – 2003-2007.
The Panthers presently own the Golden Shoe for being the last team to win the game three years in a row.
“We have it in our trophy case,” said Roselle Park head coach Terry Hanratty, at the helm of the Panthers since 2012 and 3-1 vs. Roselle.
Hanratty also reported that the annual Pre-game Bonfire is back, with it to be held Wednesday night at Roselle Park’s JV baseball field.
“The kids don’t really know the tradition as well as we want them to,” Hanratty said. “It’s not what it used to be.
“This is the 99th game and with the Signorello family bringing back the bonfire we’re hoping to get a good crowd for the game. We’re hoping not to lose the tradition.”
The Roselle Park Dad’s Club sponsored a sausage and peppers event at Frenchy’s Bar & Grill Restaurant last Wednesday night, which included both coaching staffs.
A UNICO-sponsored breakfast took place last Thursday morning, including Roselle Park and Roselle dignitaries and captains of both teams.
“We’re trying to bring back some town spirit,” said Hanratty, who as the head coach at Gov. Livingston was also involved in eight Thanksgiving Day games against New Providence from 2004-2011.
As for the game, Hanratty knows what his team will be up against. Roselle has scored 453 points in the nine games it has played, with the Rams falling just short of reaching their first Central Jersey, Group 2 title contest.
“This is Roselle’s year, they have eight seniors,” Hanratty said. “You can’t take anything away from them.
“We’re just going to try to do the best we can.”
2015: Roselle 41, Roselle Park 33 – at Roselle

Rahway (6-3) at Johnson (5-4), 10:30 a.m. at Nolan Field:
Rahway and Johnson have been playing each other on Thanksgiving since 2004, with Johnson winning seven of the past 12 holiday meetings, including the last four and five of the last six.
Rahway’s last win in the series was a 9-3 triumph at home at Veterans Field back in 2011.
The Crusaders seek a third straight winning season while Rahway has already clinched its first winning campaign since 2013.
2015: Johnson 21, Rahway 17 – at Rahway

GL (3-6) at New Providence (1-8), 10:30 a.m. at Lieder Field:
New Providence is 11-3 vs. Governor Livingston the last 14 seasons since they began playing each other on the holiday in 2002.
However, GL has won the last two contests, including a commanding 35-14 win at New Providence in 2014.
This is New Providence’s first sub-.500 season in a long time.
2015: Gov. Livingston 10, New Providence 0 – at GL

Westfield (10-0) at Plainfield (1-8), 11 a.m. at Hub Stine Field:
Westfield leads Union County’s longest series at 59-45-7, with this being game No. 112. Westfield has won the last four meetings.
Since Plainfield upset Westfield at Westfield’s Gary Kehler Stadium in 2011 by the score of 22-21, the Cardinals have won only five games.
Plainfield went 0-9 – the Cardinals did not play Elizabeth because of Hurricane Sandy – in 2012, 1-9 in 2013, 1-9 in 2014, 2-8 in 2015 and is 1-8 so far this year.
Plainfield has won its last four consolation games and is 5-43 overall since 2009.
Conversely, Westfield has the state’s longest winning streak at the moment at 23. It started with a 6-0 win at Plainfield two years ago.
Westfield will be playing Plainfield on the holiday with a 10-0 record for the second straight season.
Westfield has won nine of the last 10 games, all under head coach Jim DeSarno, whose record on the holiday is 9-1.
2015: Westfield 32, Plainfield 6 – at Westfield

LINDEN VS. UNION SCORES SINCE 2002:
2015: Linden 35, Union 14 – at Linden
2014: Union 26, Linden 19 – at Union
2013: Linden 27, Union 8 – at Linden
2012: Linden 31, Union 27 – at Union
2011: Union 35, Linden 21 – at Linden
2010: Union 28, Linden 24 – at Union
2009: Linden 26, Union 20 – at Linden
2008: Union 27, Linden 21 (OT) – at Union
2007: Union 28, Linden 12 – at Linden
2006: Linden 14, Union 12 – at Union
2005: Linden 12, Union 8 – at Linden
2004: Linden 13, Union 0 – at Union
2003: Union 14, Linden 7 – at Linden
2002: Linden 34, Union 14 – at Union

ROSELLE VS. ROSELLE PARK SCORES SINCE 2000:
2015: Roselle 41, Roselle Park 33 – at Roselle
2014: Roselle Park 29, Roselle 14 – at Roselle Park
2013: Roselle Park 24, Roselle 12 – at Roselle
2012: Roselle Park 28, Roselle 14 – at Roselle Park
2011: Roselle 27, Roselle Park 0 – at Roselle
2010: Roselle 35, Roselle Park 0 – at Roselle Park
2009: Roselle 35, Roselle Park 0 – at Roselle
2008: Roselle 28, Roselle Park 0 – at Roselle Park
2007: Roselle Park 28, Roselle 14 – at Roselle
2006: Roselle Park 16, Roselle 12 – at Roselle Park
2005: Roselle Park 21, Roselle 14 – at Roselle
2004: Roselle Park 35, Roselle 6 – at Roselle Park
2003: Roselle Park 13, Roselle 12 – at Roselle
2002: Roselle 14, Roselle Park 0 – at Roselle Park
2001: Roselle 48, Roselle Park 22 – at Roselle
2000: Roselle Park 19, Roselle 0 – at Roselle Park

RAHWAY VS. JOHNSON SCORES SINCE 2004:
2015: Johnson 21, Rahway 17 – at Rahway
2014: Johnson 35, Rahway 16 – at Johnson
2013: Johnson 27, Rahway 14 – at Rahway
2012: Johnson 33, Rahway 20 – at Johnson
2011: Rahway 9, Johnson 3 – at Rahway
2010: Johnson 42, Rahway 34 – at Johnson
2009: Rahway 19, Johnson 13 – at Rahway
2008: Rahway 14, Johnson 13 (OT) – at Johnson
2007: Rahway 27, Johnson 6 – at Rahway
2006: Johnson 21, Rahway 0 – at Johnson
2005: Johnson 20, Rahway 19 – at Rahway
2004: Rahway 14, Johnson 6 – at Johnson

GL VS. NEW PROVIDENCE SCORES SINCE 2002:
2015: Gov. Livingston 10, New Providence 0 – at GL
2014: Gov. Livingston 35, New Providence 14 – at NP
2013: New Providence 22, Gov. Livingston 18 – at GL
2012: New Providence 30, Gov. Livingston 20 – at NP
2011: New Providence 40, Gov. Livingston 26 – at GL
2010: New Providence 35, Gov. Livingston 13 – at NP
2009: New Providence 26, Gov. Livingston 20 (2OT) – at GL
2008: New Providence 35, Gov. Livingston 28 – at NP
2007: New Providence 17, Gov. Livingston 7 – at GL
2006: New Providence 17, Gov. Livingston 14 – at NP
2005: Gov. Livingston 10, New Providence 0 – at GL
2004: New Providence 19, Gov. Livingston 7 – at NP
2003: New Providence 10, Gov. Livingston 0 – at GL
2002: New Providence 20, Gov. Livingston 7 – at NP

WESTFIELD VS. PLAINFIELD SCORES SINCE 2001:
2015: Westfield 32, Plainfield 6 – at Westfield
2014: Westfield 6, Plainfield 0 – at Plainfield
2013: Westfield 34, Plainfield 0 – at Westfield
2012: Westfield 30, Plainfield 16 – at Plainfield
2011: Plainfield 22, Westfield 21 – at Westfield
2010: Westfield 35, Plainfield 6 – at Plainfield
2009: Westfield 26, Plainfield 6 – at Westfield
2008: Westfield 21, Plainfield 19 – at Plainfield
2007: Westfield 28, Plainfield 27 – at Westfield
2006: Westfield 17, Plainfield 7 – at Plainfield
2005: Plainfield 9, Westfield 0 – at Westfield
2004: Plainfield 40, Westfield 0 – at Plainfield
2003: Plainfield 9, Westfield 7 – at Westfield
2002: Westfield 14, Plainfield 6 – at Plainfield
2001: Westfield 24, Plainfield 21 – at Westfield

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