Thanksgiving marks the end of the high school football season for most teams.
Only a few will play for championships the first weekend of December.
Today often is the last game for seniors. Most will not play in college. For many seniors, today is the last time they will be part of an organized football team.
But Thanksgiving also marks a beginning. In many ways, today starts the 2014 season. Teams hope a win over their rival today propels them into offseason training.
Finally, today is about the fans, many of them college students home for the holiday. This is the only game many people attend all season.
Here are a few things to look for when today's games kickoff most of them at 10 a.m.
Holy Spirit vs. Atlantic City
Holy Spirit (10-0) is No. 1 in The Press Elite 11. The Spartans will play DePaul for the state Non-Public II title on Dec. 8 at Rutgers University.
But before that game, Spirit plays at Atlantic City in a rivalry that began in 1926.
Spirit has won 12 straight and 16 of its last 17 games. The only loss during that stretch was a 13-7 defeat to Atlantic City last Thanksgiving.
Championships on the line
Two teams can win championships today.
St. Augustine Prep (8-2) can clinch its second straight Cape-Atlantic League National Conference title with a win over Cedar Creek (7-2). If Cedar Creek wins, St. Augustine, Bridgeton and Cedar Creek are co-champions.
Barnegat (9-1) can win the Shore Conference B South title with a victory over Pinelands Regional (1-8).
A final game for standouts
Several standout seniors will finish their careers today. The next time fans see them play might just be on television.
Receiver Mike Gesicki (Southern Regional) and lineman Antoine White (Millville) have verbally committed to Penn State. Running back David Hood of Absegami and lineman Kenny Randall of Mainland Regional have verbally committed to Temple University.
This has been a breakout season for several underclassmen quarterbacks. Freshman Kendall Elliott of Oakcrest has thrown for a South Jersey freshman record 1,348 yards. St. Augustine sophomore Jose Tabora leads the CAL in touchdown passes with 19. Atlantic City sophomore Jamir Prevard has thrown for 1,240 yards and 16 touchdowns. Freshman Jesse Milza of Cedar Creek has thrown seven touchdown passes.
A chance at .500
Four teams can even their record with wins today.
Atlantic City (4-5) hosts Holy Spirit (10-0). Ocean City (4-5) hosts Pleasantville (2-7) and Absegami (4-5) is home against Oakcrest (2-7). Southern Regional (4-5) plays at home against Central Regional (5-4).
Any coach will say a 5-5 record sounds a lot better than 4-6.
Vineland and Millville - one of the nation's oldest rivalries - will play for the 142nd time. Kickoff is 10:30 a.m. at Millville's Wheaton Field.
Vineland leads the series 63-59-19. The teams first met in 1893 - 28 years after the end of the Civil War. Early in the rivalry, the two schools often played more than once in a season.
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