MILLBURY, Mass. — The Millbury High School football team is busy preparing for its annual Thanksgiving Day game against Grafton High School, and head coach Ray Richards knows the Woolies have their work cut out for them.
“Grafton is a very good football team,” Richards said. “They have an excellent defense and their offense, with the double wing, is very tough to defend.”
One thing Richards didn't want to be reminded of however, is the winning streak the Woolies have against the Indians, going on a dozen years and counting. This could be the year Grafton breaks through with a tough team on both sides of the ball.
The Woolies are a banged up team as well, with running back Ross Sudar still hurting with a foot injury and questionable to play at this point. Offensive guard and defensive tackle George Piselli also is questionable with an injury, although he’s been practicing on a limited basis.
The loss of Sudar is particularly daunting for Millbury. When healthy this season, he was among the top running backs in the league. Without him, it makes the Woolies’ offense much easier to defend. While Millbury continues to struggle in throwing the ball effectively, having Sudar and Randy Mogren in the backfield is key.
With the Division 4 playoffs beginning Tuesday night after Thanksgiving, the top four teams will make the post-season. The top two seeds are set with Northbridge and Grafton. Millbury currently is the third seed and, win or lose, conceivably could be playing Grafton Thursday morning and again Tuesday night.
It is not a challenge Richards particularly relishes, “after you play them, especially that offense, you’re sore from the physical challenge,” he said. “I think anyone playing them two games so close together would have an awfully difficult time in stopping them.”
Grafton’s defense, one of the best -- if not the best -- in the league is led by Corey Charpentier who definitely has the attention of Millbury’s coaches.
“Charpentier is very, very good,” Richards said. “He’s able to disrupt things at the point of attack and is very difficult to block.”
For Millbury fans going to the game, tickets are on sale. Get more information here.