PATERSON, NJ - Paterson’s two varsity football teams will meet for the 89th time in one of New Jersey’s oldest rivalries on Thanksgiving morning.
The game between Eastside and Kennedy high schools kicks off at 10:30 a.m. Thursday at Bauerle Field on Oak Street.
Kennedy High (4-5) comes in with a chance to finish its season with a .500 record after scoring a 42-0 victory over Bergen Tech on Nov. 16. That was the second shutout victory of the season for the Knights, whose defense is led by Quashon Johnson at defensive end, inside linebackers Zaire McGuire and Walid Rabbah, outside linebackers John Burton and Jamier Taylor and defensive backs Dekyri Mims, Tyquese Jackson and Shaon Stephenson.
Jackson and Stephenson propel the running game for the Knights’ offense, which is triggered by quarterback Cornelius Kinchen, who completed eight of 11 passes in the victory over Bergen Tech.
Eastside High (3-6) has written an impressive comeback story after beginning the season with five straight losses. Quarterback Tahj Upshaw has been a productive passer for the Ghosts, whose running game is led by backs Marlon Ebanks and Terrence Tate, who is also a standout receiver. Prince Block is also one of Upshaw’s top targets in the passing game. The placekicking is handled by Loron Laing.
Eastside’s defense gets a strong pass rush from linemen Akinde McQueen and Tevaughn Grant and strong second-level tackling by linebacker Isaiah Wharton, who had a hand in 14 tackles in a victory over Clifton earlier this season.
Eastside has won 42 times in this rivalry. Kennedy has 39 victories. There have been seven ties in the previous 88 meetings.