Matt Manning and the Crusaders compete for the Mid-Wach C Regular Season Title Thanksgiving morning at 10 a.m. against Tyngsborough.
Matt Manning and the Crusaders compete for the Mid-Wach C Regular Season Title Thanksgiving morning at 10 a.m. against Tyngsborough. (Nashoba Publishing/Kent Boynton)

Tyngsborough (10-0, 5-0 Mid Wach-C) @. Groton-Dunstable (9-1, 6-0) 10 a.m.

Last Turkey Day: G-D: 21-6 (W) @. Tyngsborough (G-D leads series: 4-1)

Both the Tigers and the Crusaders are well on their way into the playoffs with near identical records. Not only is Thursday morning's game a regional rivalry, it is for sole position of the Mid-Wach C league title. Groton-Dunstable head coach Derek Asadoorian will have his team mentally prepared for the big stage Thursday.

The Crusaders since falling in week four, have come roaring back winning six in a row. Over the last six weeks, Groton-Dunstable has outscored their opponents by resounding 179-65 margin. Quarterback Mack Eberheart has been nothing short of amazing with his duel-threat capability.

The junior makes things difficult on defenses due to his speed and size. Tyngsborough will have to hope that their defensive ends do a solid job containing the shifty signal caller. Matt Manning is a bruiser of a fullback for the Crusaders, and has posed trouble for teams earlier in the year.

Tyngsborough comes into Thursday morning's clash with an unblemished record. The Tigers offense keys off of their backfield workhorse Chuck Keenan. Keenan has rushed for 1468 yards, and 20 TD on 207 carries. The Tigers have relied heavily on Keenan all season, don't expect them to change up the game plan now. With the regular season title on the line, expect nothing short of a game that goes right down to the wire.



* Eberheart is nearing the 1,000 yard plateau for the season with 968 yards rushing on 115 carries with 12 touchdowns.

* Defensively Drew Moore is among the area's leaders in interceptions with six on the season.

*Unsung Heroes: Groton-Dunstable's offensive line. The Crusaders line has been outstanding this year clearing holes for Eberheart, and the rest of the offense.


*Kennan leads the Tigers with 52 tackles on defense.

*Quarterback Jack Trottier is 48-of-68 passing for 728-yards and six TD's this season.

*Wide receiver Tom Lafferty is Trottier's main target with 18-catches totaling 472-yards and four TD's. Lafferty is averaging 26.2 yards-per-catch.

Nashoba(10-0, 4-0 Mid-Wach B) @. North Middlesex 10 a.m. (3-7, 1-3 Mid-Wach B)

Last Turkey Day: 52-12 (L) (Nash.) in Bolton.

Nashoba leads the series 14-3.

The Patriots have not had good luck during the now 18-year rivalry with Nashoba. North Middlesex has lost five in a row with their last win coming in 2007. Many in the community felt that this was finally the year for North Middlesex to turn the corner.

The Patriots have dropped four straight games, with a particularly bad loss to Algonquin on the road a couple weeks ago. North Middlesex has some potent weapons on offense when they show up. The Patriots have been outscored 117-47 in their last four games.

Nashoba looks to be poised and well on their way to making a deep run in the playoffs with a spotless 10-0 record. The Chieftains have outscored opponents in their last two games coming into Thursday by a margin of 66-0.

Expect Nashoba to rest a lot of their starters in this one as the game has no fundamental bearing on the playoff picture. Even with the loss, the Chieftains have locked up the No. 1 spot in the Mid-Wach B Division.


*Chieftains are going for 24th straight win.

* Star running back John Ojuku has been out with an injury the last two games.

* Senior middle linebacker Zack Hume has 85.5 tackles for the Cheiftains this season.

North Middlesex:

*Sophomore quarterback John Boutwell has been strong for the pats competing 53-of-109 for 872 yards and eight TD's

* Brandon Lambert has powered for 956 yards and 10 TD's. Lambert averages 6.9-yards per carry.

* Wide receiver Bryan Croteau leads the Patriots with 12 receptions totaling 265-yards and 3 TD's.

Littleton (7-3, 4-0 Mid-Wach D) @. Ayer-Shirley (1-9, 0-4 Mid-Wach D)

Last Turkey Day: 22-14 (W) Ayer-Shirley

Series: Ayer-Shirley 9-6

Under first-year head coach Jay Rivers, the Panthers haven't been as successful as they had hoped to be at the start of the season. Ayer-Shirley has just four seniors on the 2012 roster, and have been forced to start six freshman on either side of the ball throughout the course of the year. The Panthers having nothing to lose, and all to gain on Thanksgiving morning.

Ayer-Shirley will not have an easy task going toe-to-toe with the top team in the league. Littleton stunned West Boylston, 14-12 a couple weeks ago, and has the tie-breaker under their belt if they lose to Ayer-Shirley Thursday. The Tigers are 1-2 in their last three games. Littleton is led offensively by their quarterback Alex McLaughlin who has completed 71 passes for 1509 yards and a league high 19 TD's.

The Panthers are coming off a tough 29-16 loss at Southbridge on Veterans day. Ayer-Shirley was down 29-0 at halftime, but Zak Walker and Justis Wallace helped the Panthers claw back into the game only to come up short.


* McLaughlin is the Tigers' leading rusher with 68 carries for 640-yards.

* Travis Bennett, Ryan Sullivan and Peter Murphy have a combined 1500+ yards receiving.

* Defensively the tigers have a stout linebacking corp. of Ryan Clark, Ian Howard, and Matt Jackson.


*Walker has thrown for 1584 yards this season on 110 completions.

* Wallace has 53 catches totaling 740-yards, and 11 TD's.

* Tight End Ryan Richard has racked up 437-yards receiving on 11-catches this season.