WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. Turkey, stuffing and side dishes will be cooking Thursday morning while football teams from Archbishop Stepinac and neighboring White Plains High School meet for the 41st Annual Turkey Bowl between the two teams at 10:30 a.m.
White Plains (6-3), which made the Section 1 Class AA quarterfinals before losing to New Rochelle nearly four weeks ago, will host the Crusaders (9-3), who reached the Catholic High School AAA title game before losing to St. Anthonys last week.
The Turkey Bowl dates back to 1971 and annually draws one of the largest crowds of the season for either team in a friendly but hard-fought rivalry with local bragging rights on the line.
Stepinac won last years meeting 42-14 and preserved a perfect 12-0 record for the Crusaders, who also won the Catholic Schools AA title. The Tigers will be looking for some holiday payback.
Stepinacs Tyrell Goodman rushed for 177 yards and two touchdowns and then junior running back Caleb Gilligan-Evans added 106 yards and two to lead the Crusaders last year.
Jeff Avery quarterbacks the Tigers and has developed a good passing game to go along with his backfield that includes Jaeshon Brooks and Michael Scotman. Kickoff and punt returner and running back Darrell Everett is the Tigers wild card, with the ability to break returns, run with short passes and even rush the ball from scrimmage. Terrell Meads is a breakaway receiver.
The Crusaders feature quarterbacks Mark White and Dan Hoffer. White led the team in rushing and scoring, while Hoffer is a pocket passer with a good arm. Gilligan-Evans is back as a senior running back who adds punch.
Stepinacs defense is led by Austin Taps, Vin Narog and a strong group of run stoppers and White Plains has shown that it can stop good offenses.
The Tigers have not played a game since losing to New Rochelle nearly four weeks ago and Stepinac comes off a tough loss at St. Anthonys. This one will be decided by which team is up for a holiday win.