The Pilgrim football team has had a historic 2019 season, going undefeated and winning its first football championship in 44 years.
Although the Super Bowl champs are still riding the high of a championship, they still have unfinished business as they get set to take on rival Toll Gate at the fourth-annual Beacon Bowl Thanksgiving game. Toll Gate currently holds a 2-1 series lead.
“I don’t think that we could have any more momentum than after winning a Super Bowl. But, our guys just see this as an opportunity to compete one more time. Like we always say, ‘let’s just go 1-0.’ Last year the kids came into this game mad. They were defeated, they had never won this game before. This year though, they’re a little more relaxed which I think helps,” said Pilgrim head coach Blake Simpson.
Simpson has been impressed with what he has seen in the Titans, especially on the offensive side of the ball.
“They have a strong run game. Kenny Morel, (Ethan) Durand, (Anthony Shaw). They’ve got some size up front, Greyson Pasquina has gotten better since last year. They’re a good team that’s been to the playoffs two years in a row. We’re not overlooking them one bit,” said Simpson.
The Pats are also looking forward to getting a chance to pick up a road win.
“The seniors are looking forward to trying to even out the series. Another thing is that we’ve never beaten them at Vets. We played the first two (Beacon Bowls) at Vets then last year we were home. We want to get a win on their turf,” said Simpson.
Thursday’s game will also mark the final ride for the Pilgrim seniors, that have helped pave the way for the program’s success over the past two years.
“It’s sunk in. We’ve talked about it and they know that this is the last game for real,” said Simpson. “I think you’ll see more tears on Thursday than you did after we won the Super Bowl.”
Pilgrim senior Ethan Asadorian looks forward to hitting the field one last time, and going for one final victory in the black and white.
“We have a ton of momentum, (the Super Bowl) was an amazing game. But we have one more to go, we have an amazing group of seniors and we want to do something special and send it off right. There is tension between the two schools, but to me, I know that I’ll never put the pads on again, so I want to finish on a high note regardless of who we’re playing,” said Asadorian.
Fellow senior Dikran Krikorian will miss the high school game and is thankful for everything he experienced during his time at the Morry.
“It’s sad knowing that we’ll never be able to play again, some of us are going to play at college, but for many of us this is our last game. It’s going to be difficult coming to the realization that we won’t be playing again,” said Krikorian. “We’re going to all remember the Super Bowl win. Being on this team has also taught us so much about hard work and discipline. I think this run has made us all better people.”