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Somerset Berkley, Swansea end 90 year Thanksgiving football tradition



For the first time in decades, Swansea (Joseph Case High School) and Somerset Berkley Regional High School football teams did not play each other on Thanksgiving day.

Instead, Somerset Berkley faced off against Providence Central High School Wednesday night, breaking the over 90 year old tradition of a Thanksgiving day game against Swansea after Anthony Palladino, the athletic director and head football coach at Case notified Somerset Berkley last winter that they were looking for a new opponent.

In a decision that has angered many residents of both towns, Palladino who is in his tenth year as coach, said games between the two teams were one sided for the past twenty years and that the game wasn’t what it was supposed to be for players. Somerset Berkley, which has played in Division 3, has won many of the recent Thanksgiving games against Division 7 Swansea, sometimes by large margins. In their last meeting in 2022, Somerset Berkley handily beat Swansea 50-14 and in 2021, Swansea failed to score at all, losing 34-0.

But in a plot twist, Swansea was the team that delivered a shutout in their first match up against a new team. The Thanksgiving morning home game against Atlantis Charter/Westport team appeared to have its own share of unbalance when Swansea beat Atlantis Charter/Westport 26-0. Somerset Berkley celebrated a 26-22 at home win against the Central High Knights. Their new opponent also meant the game was held the night before Thanksgiving, but was still well attended by supporters, students and residents, while attendees at the Swansea game noted it was one of the most poorly attended games in recent memory.

Residents took to Facebook Thursday to give their opinions of the game changes and results.

Joe Rezendes was clear on his take on the Case blowout. “Couldn’t play Somerset because it wasn’t a competitive game but won a game that wasn’t competitive. Hypocrisy at it’s finest.”

Shaun Gallant felt the change was sad. “The ‘everyone gets a trophy’ world…if you can’t compete, don’t get better, just play lower.”

Marc Gadbois was not happy with the change. “Destroyed a generational tradition.”

Stacy LeBlanc expressed her thoughts on the change and Case Coach Palladino. “Lost a tradition but won a game. Just awful! Always will be proud of the Case High boys tho! You guys are loved! Palladino….shameful at best huh?”

One of the Swansea coaches took to Facebook today to push back on members of the community and their negative feelings on the controversial change to the tradition.

Reilly Dos Anjos, a current coach and former student and player himself, said now that the season was done, he was not keeping quiet any longer.

“I’m sick of the slander and disgusting things said by the people of this town. I’m sick of the slander my athletes are receiving, I’m sick of the slander my head coach, whom I played for and get to now coach for, is getting and I’m sick of the slander my fellow coaches/people I consider friends are getting. The things getting said by the townspeople are disgusting.”

No word on if this year’s matchups will be the same next year.

Primary correspondent for the Greater Fall River area, Jess focuses on human interest stories and investigations into political corruption. She is a former fill-in host and digital contributor at The Howie Carr Show, former host of The Jessica Machado Show and SouthCoast Tonight on WBSM in New Bedford, former blogger at The Herald News and a former fill-in host at WSAR in Fall River.

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