When the Albion vs. Medina rivalry football game was played on Thanksgiving Day

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 26 November 2020 at 9:15 am

Contributed Photos – Albion’s regulars for the 1936 season included Rosato, H. Dragon, T. Colella, G. Dragon, D.L. Stirk, Pask, Buckley, Morrow, Monacelli, Woods, D.H. Stirk and Barrett.

Today for sports fans watching football on TV is as much a part of Thanksgiving as the turkey dinner.

For Orleans sports fans the long standing Albion vs. Medina high school football rivalry was once the feature event on Thanksgiving Day.

From 1924 to 1936 the rivalry contest was played on Thanksgiving afternoon often in very challenging playing conditions.

In fact, three of those games (1926, 1928 and 1934) ended in a 0-0 tie as game stories report that in each case the field was a sea of mud.

The other 10 contests saw the teams both emerge with five victories.

Albion won the first Turkey Day Classic 12-2 in 1924 as John Donovan scored both touchdowns.

Medina answered back with a narrow 12-6 win in 1925 on touchdowns by Herb Blount and Brit Cooper.

Then sandwiched between the two muddy 0-0 ties in 1926 and 1928 Medina claimed a 19-6 victory in 1927 as John Kelly scored two touchdowns.

Medina’s most lopsided win in the Turkey Day series came by a 31-6 margin in 1929.

The following year was much closer as Medina nipped Albion 6-0 on a fourth quarter touchdown by Montgomery who recovered a teammate’s fumble at the goal line and plunged over the line for the score.

Medina also scored a slender 6-0 win in 1933 on a TD by Red Howe.

Albion closed out the Thanksgiving Day series by winning four of the last six contests by margin of 19-6 in 1931, 14-0 in 1932, 24-12 in 1935 and 27-0 in 1936.

Edward Nesbitt, John McKenna and John Page took turns scoring touchdowns for the Purple and White in the 1931 game while Don Armstrong accounted for both scores in the 1932 contest.

Albion’s last two wins in the Turkey Day series capped off outstanding seasons for the Purple and White which won 24-12 in 1935 to finish at 6-1 and 27-0 in 1936 to complete an undefeated 8-0-1 campaign.

Tommy Colella, who went on to star at Canisius College and then with the Cleveland Browns, scored two touchdowns in both of those contests. Henry Dragon also scored once in the ’35 game and twice in ’36. Joe Rosato scored Albion’s first touchdown in the 1935 game.

The following year the rivalry contest was moved up to Armistice Day (now Veterans Day) and continued to be played on that day until 1958 when it became part of the regular season schedule.

Medina’s 1934 squad included, in front, White, Hare, Garrett, Bacon, Clapp, Monagan, Root, Palmer, Acer, Clark and Hagerman. In the middle row are Stilwell, Smith, Lynch, Rumsey, Hay, Pegelow, Padoleski, Wanecski and Maines. In the back row are Coach Evans, R. Clark, Heveron, Hungerford, Ward and Prahler.