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Turkey Tackle

While most sports fans were relishing the Thanksgiving Day FCIAC football championship match-up between Staples and Greenwich — the Wreckers won, in case you live under a rock — other Westporters celebrated the day with a game of their own.

For 25 years — inspired by Class of 1987 members Russell Sherman, Matt Spengler and Sean Fitzpatrick — a group of Staples graduates, plus friends and family members,  gathers at Compo Beach for a Thanksgiving morning football game. Many are former athletes — including some football players. They prefer playing to watching.

Playing, as in tackle football. Not flag — tackle football.

Among this year’s highlights:

  • Dave Allen went straight from running a 30:26 in the Fairfield Turkey Trot to the game. He also made a textbook open-field tackle on a much bigger opponent.
  • Terence Fitzpatrick hauled in 3 TD grabs. His team dominated, 35-7 — a Staples-like drubbing.
  • Jeff Willett threw 5 TD passes (more, his “friends” wondered, than his senior year total?). His sure-handed interception on defense ended the game.
  • Phil Levieff racked up the most receiving yards: 165, on 3 catches.
  • Kev Barry was MVP, dominating every position he played on offense and defense.
  • Dave Center — a former Staples soccer player — played with a sweeper’s mentality, covering plenty of ground and laughing as he tackled.
  • Other outstanding performances came from Bill Hunter, Dave Sweedler, Marc Foreman, Wyman Chu, Tom Kubic and Bobby Crowley.

Plans are already underway for next year’s game.

Trash talk included.