After 98 Years, Lakewood vs. Toms River South Thanksgiving Rivalry Comes to an End
The Shore Conference’s longest continuous rivalry has come to an end.
The annual Thanksgiving game between Toms River South and Lakewood will not be played in 2018, ending a rivalry series that began in 1920 and has been played each year on Thanksgiving Day. The 2018 Shore Conference football schedule was released to Shore Sports Network on Friday night and among the Thanksgiving games absent was Toms River South vs. Lakewood.
The 2017 game, won by Lakewood, 26-12, will go down as the 98th and final consecutive meeting.
“It’s sad because a tradition is ending and it’s the longest-running game, but it’s a different landscape now,” said Toms River South head coach Ron Signorino Jr., who also played for the Indians. “As a guy who grew up with it I like the game but it had started to run its course and it’s tough with scheduling.”
Lakewood head coach L.J. Clark, who also played for the Piners, expressed his disappointment and stated Lakewood still supported playing the game.
“We did not want to cancel the game, we wanted to play the game and they (Toms River South) canceled it,” Clark said. “We put our paperwork in for it. That and Manchester were supposed to be our nondivisional games. We want to play it. We don’t have too much tradition in football but that’s one of them. We want to play it and we’re still fighting to get it played.”
Toms River South leads the all-time series 55-39-4.
The Lakewood-Toms River South game is one of four Thanksgiving games that will no longer be played either on that day or at all. Barnegat and Pinelands will instead meet in Week 3, Holmdel and Raritan will play in Week 9 and Shore and Rumson-Fair Haven will not play at all.
There are now just four Thanksgiving games in the Shore Conference: Neptune vs. Asbury Park, Red Bank vs. Long Branch, Middletown North vs. Middletown South and Manasquan vs. Wall.
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