Father Judge, Lincoln High schools end Turkey Bowl football game in Northeast Philadelphia [FOX29]

(Originally posted by FOX29 March 13, 2024)

A decades-old tradition in Northeast Philadelphia has come to an end.

According to a letter released from both Father Judge High School and Abraham Lincoln High School, after more than 40 years, they reached a joint agreement to cease playing their annual Thanksgiving Day football game.

The letter says the decision was not taken lightly and considered for the past few years.

“When I was growing up, it was a great tradition,” says Gavin Wolfe, a 1991 graduate of Father Judge High School, and current owner of Three Monkeys Café. “We’d walk from Father Judge, you’d walk up the hill, you’d walk up to Lincoln, the Lincoln people would be there, the whole neighborhood would be out, Frankford Avenue would be buzzing.”

The letter highlighted safety and security as their first reason, but did not elaborate why.

“It was really sad, I saw that the release come out and the top reason was security and it’s unfortunately, you know, it’s a sign of the times,” says Terrence Graf, who spoke to FOX 29 from Faderz Barbershop, across from Lincoln High School.

“A lot of public gatherings people feel unsafe and people don’t want to go to them anymore,” he says.

The other reasons for the change, according to the letter, are conflicts with playoffs, and it gives dual sport student-athletes a longer break before their winter seasons begin.

“In my Theology class, with a bunch of other athletes, they were talking about it and said it kind of kills the general mood of the excitement,” says Dominic Laspina, a senior at Father Judge. “It doesn’t hurt me as much as it hurts some of the athletes, especially some of the juniors, sophomores, and freshmen who were looking forward to it. I mean, it’s tragic, but some things have to go for the good.”

In the Father Judge High School letter, staff stated that they will still plan an alumni gathering on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, as they have in the past, so there is an opportunity for everyone to see each other around the holiday.

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