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Turkey Day history gets its best shot

November 23, 2006|by BIG SYDNEY

You wouldn't know it by looking at me, but this time of year pulls out the history buff in me.

Thanksgiving has that amazing hold over me. It causes me to start looking back to the old days in my area of expertise (no, not eating a whole 26-pound turkey). I have this interest in figuring out when football became a major part of this holiday.

For example, the art of prognosticating was started by a guy named L. Frank Baum in 1920. That's when he wrote The Wizard of Odds. But, from my estimates, football has been a part of Thanksgiving since there has been a reason to have a 45-course meal before sitting down to watch a game.

I started my research by heading to some places in the know around Dargan to try to prove some of my theories.

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First, since it is harvest time, I decided to go to what's considered to be the perfect place to grow local Silver Queen ... known as CornUtopia, but they couldn't lend me an ear.

Undaunted, I tried the local oompa dance and traditional pizza shop, Polka Hand Toss, for a few more clues, but they didn't slice it either.

So, here's how I figure it started. When the pilgrims showed up, the Indians inhabiting the area already had a football team, obviously called the Redskins. They were the best team going, of course, they didn't have any competition. The only other team around were the Chiefs. 'Nuff said.

The Redskins had this great coach named Joe Gibblet. He talked turkey when it came to football. He devised a winning defense that was able to cover everything ... Gibblet's Gravy Defense. The Redskins' offense was unstoppable back then. They devised the original Wishbone.

The Redskins were all the rage of the area until the Pilgrims showed up. All of a sudden, there was competition. The Pilgrims had a few players that gave the Redskins problems, especially a kicker who could really boot the ball a long distance while in a stationary position.

His name was Miles Standish.

But the biggest adversary for Gibblet and the Redskins came in the form of the Pilgrims' coach. He was an all-time great, just like Gibblet hoped to be someday. A real legend that he grew up admiring. It was almost scary.

The name of this legend ...

Plymouth Rockne, of course.

On with the predictions. Last week: 7-2 (.778); Season 168-53 (.760).

HIGH SCHOOLS



Friday

Middletown 24, North Hagerstown 14: Middletown conserves energy by preventing Knight-fall.

Saturday

Martinsburg 31, Fairmont Senior 19: With Peters dealing, the Bulldogs are headed to Wheeling.

COLLEGES



Maryland 26, Wake Forest 23: Terps exorcise the Demon Deacons from Byrd Stadium.

West Virginia 38, South Florida 20: The Mountaineers feel downright Bull-ish about their chances.

Shepherd 36, Merrimack 16: Rams won't miss against Merrimack.

PROS



Ravens 28, Steelers 13: Steelers' playoff chances are in a Heap of trouble.

Panthers 19, Redskins 10: The 'Skins won't feel finer after playing Carolina.

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