Tewksbury Local Editor Bill Gilman mapped out why he thinks his town is better than Wilmington. With all due respect to Bill, he couldn't be more wrong. When it comes to this border rivalry, Wilmington takes the cake.
For about 80 years, the Redmen and Wildcats have battled on the gridiron on Thanksgiving Day, and this year is no different. The teams kickoff at 10 a.m. in Tewksbury and the crowd should be massive and raucous as always.
The towns are rivals on the field, on the court, and on ice, but it runs deeper than that. There is a natural rivalry overall between the towns, which is why we present to you five reasons why Wilmington is indeed the superior town in this battle.
1. The Fourth of July. Wilmington is famous for not just one day of celebrating, but also for a full week of festivities that range from fireworks, to a carnival, and even hospital bed races. Wilmington residents have made sure the fireworks cost is paid for in recent years by earning multiple grants of $10,000 from Liberty Mutual.
2. Stanley Cup Champions. Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington is the official practice facility of the Boston Bruins, who last year won the Stanley Cup. "They've been great (in Wilmington)," said General Manager Peter Chiarelli over the summer. "The crowds here have been terrific... It's a good venue."
3. Local Heroes. Thanks to the support of Wilmington residents, Local Heroes has been sending care packages to troops overseas for the last seven years. The nonprofit organization run by Board of Selectmen Chairman and Veteran's Agent Louis Cimaglia certainly has ties with Tewksbury residents as well, but it's based in Wilmington so it's just another reason the town is outstanding.
4. Past Success. Sure. The Tewksbury hockey team went on to win a state championship this winter. But there was one obvious low point in their glorious season. They couldn't hold a candle when they traveled to face head coach Steve Scanlon's charges inside the friendly confines of Ristuccia Arena. Wilmington showed they were tougher than the Redmen and cruised to a 6-0 blowout win. After Thursday, Tewksbury is the team heading playoffs and the Wildcats are going home. But that doesn't mean Wilmington can't manhandle Tewksbury on the football field too.
5. Resident Support. Time and time again, the people who live in Wilmington show why they're the cream of the crop in the area. Most recently, residents earned a $10,000 grant for the Wilmington Fire Department. It's not the first time though. The town earned the same grant last year, and also has won multiple grants in recent months.
So it's obvious that Wilmington is the better town of the two, and on Thursday the Wildcats are going to prove why they're the superior football team as well.
Head coach Mike Barry's charges know the Redmen are going to come at them with a physical game, quarterback Matt Ferreira said he's prepared for a variety of Tewksbury defensive formations, and senior John Parsons said he and his teammates are also prepared for their rivals' knack for a trick play.
Two years ago it was the Wildcats taking home the hardware, while last year the Redmen gobbled up a 26-21 win.
This year, the trophy is coming back to Wilmington. Parsons is set for a monster game in his final game as a Wildcat. He and fellow running back Ed DeLucia are going to run around and through the Tewksbury defense, and Ferreira is ready to air it out if needed.
The Redmen have the playoffs to look forward to and stay healthy for, while for the Wildcats this is the Super Bowl. It's going to be a back and forth game, but at the final whistle, Wilmington will walk away with a 35-28 win.
Two things are for certain. It's going to be an entertaining game, and Wilmington Patch will have complete coverage of it so check back Thursday and Friday.
We want to hear from you as well. Let us know in the comments section below why you think Wilmington is better than Tewksbury. Happy Thanksgiving!