Thoughts on Wood-Tennent Cancellation
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   The Wood-Tennent Thanksgiving game has been canceled at the request of
Wood coach Art Barrett, who said his team needs to focus solely on its major
goal of winning the CL Blue title.
   Please send your comments to We will list e-mail
addresses with the comments.
   Thanks very much! 

I think its a good decision for Wood to cancel the game on thanksgiving just talking to many of the Wood players after that great game with Neumann, they said they needed at least a week to recuperate.  I saw first hand how banged up they were and if I was going for a championship there is no doubt I would do the same.   One player said too me thank God our coach canceled the game, I need a break after this war with Neumann.  Yes, its sad for William Tennenant I can understand how much they want to play but you cant tell me if they were in the state playoffs there is no way they wouldn't cancel this game. Art Barrett is a class act and you can rest assure his only motive for this was to give his kids the best possible chance to win a championship. I have been around the Wood community for sometime now and this is just what that school needs.  20 some years is a long time without a championship.  Just look at our Beloved Eagles (Maybe this year).  Next year there will be no strike for teachers and the tradition can continue because the season will over by the thanksgiving game. If you saw the look on the Wood players' faces and see how banged up they were - any coach in their right mind would say we need a break.  IM glad I got a chance to talk to a few of the players to get their opinion and when they said too me personally, I hope its canceled then in my opinion the Wood staff made the right decesion.

As an observer and yes a participant how do people let this stuff go on. The game is on the schedule you play it. End of discussion. Yes, the strike put a kink into things but if you thought you were good enough to play in the Championship game cancel the game in September. Although not the best thing to do it would at least give Tennent an opportunity to find another opponent. Although not likely it is better than waiting till now. Now does this give Wood an advantage as West is playing on Thanksgiving?

Hi, my name is Rocky Pirrone, my son Brandon plays for William Tennent high school. I read your article in the Daily News about the cancellation of the Thanksgiving day game. I'm writing this letter to express my outrage, that a football coach would cancel a football game because he is trying to not only gain an advantage to win another game, but in reality is scared to play a team that he knows has the talent and ability to defeat his. How can a coach look his team in the eye and tell them they are "champions" when he didn't even let them play their entire schedule and earn it? My son is five yards short of breaking the school record for rushing, he looked forward to doing it against Wood, mainly because a lot of his friends are players on Woods team. To me Barett is not only doing a injustice to his own team and school, he is doing a injustice to High school football.
-- Rocky Pirrone

It's time for O'Hara to step up and get with the times.   Everyone associated with the team thinks a Thankgiving Day game would be great for the program.  O'Hara should step in for Wood and play Tennet.  The cost is minimal.  They made enough money from the Catholic League playoffs to cover expenses and the program has money.

I go to Wood, let’s keep the name to the initials RP…And I think it is BS that the comments about this game are against Wood. From talking to people such as the coaches I have found that it is the AD at Tennent’s fault because he was informed about the cancellation a month ago after Wood’s win over Egan. After stomping over Egan at our Homecoming game, it was obvious to everyone that Wood had the talent to make it to the championship and informed Tennent about this because they had a gut feeling at the time they would be going far into the playoffs. Personally, I know and everyone knows Wood would win, but they do deserve the week long rest they are getting. Some of the key players are all banged up and Tennent should quit bitchin’ and find someone else to play for this year. End of story. GO WOOD!!
   (Ted's note: For the record, Tennent's AD said Monday he did not know of the possibility of a cancellation until Saturday morning. Take that for what it's worth.)

I am a Wood alumnus and once I heard about this cancellation I was mad until I heard that both Wood and Tennant knew almost a month ago that this cancellation would be a Strong possibilty and that maybe they should for another gsame so I think maybe someone on both sides dropped the ball. If Tennant did know then I dont feel sorrow for them at all.

I read with great disappointment your article on the cancellation of the Archbishop Wood - William Tennent Thanksgiving Day game. I have a solution for the Football Coach at Wood. Why not play your 2nd team players and rest your starters. Let's be realistic, most of the 2nd team guys probably wouldn't have sniffed a minute in the Championship game anyway. This way, as a coach you get a preview of next year's team and you keep the game intact. Cancelling the game achieves absolutely nothing. And what about the Tennent player that needs 5 yards to break a school record. How does the Wood Coach sleep at night? This is a really tragedy in High School Sports.
Mike O'Connor

Pitching Coach
La Salle High School

you should note that tenent regulary threatens this kind of thing w/ wood. My senoir season (97) they actually denied us our final home game, and almost the same thanksgiving game ( in which wood beat them rather handily) due to their "possible playoff concerns"

Andrew Pope

Why are all these thanksgiving games getting all skrewed up. Seniors where you at!!! It's your last season to play.  I would be sooooo heated if somebody took a game away from me and my team.  I mean im pretty sure if wood loses there gonna regret it. Their gonna regret it anyways. I guess now a day some teams have gotten a lil soft.

Dear Ted,
     The lasalle-prep cancellation is a joke, a sick joke compared to this. 
At least lasalle had an excuse, albeit a weak excuse, that they played prep
2 times already.  This latest cancellation however, there is no excuse
except for "Oh, we have to have extra time to prepare for the
championchip".  Please.  Here is the bottom line-WOOD HAS NO HONOR.  They
were prolly thinking, "Well, we went to the championchip two years ago and
lost, and lost the thangiving game that year, maybe if we don't play the
thanksgiving game this year we'll go into the game with an upbeat attitude."
  Just pathetic.

To all Wood Fans and Players,
The schedule does not read:
11/27 @ William Tennent 10:00 (barring the event of strike or an appearance in the Championship game)
It does read:
11/27 @ William Tennent 10:00
No “ands” “ifs” or “buts” about it!
 It’s obvious that Wood is not used to playing in championships because they need TWO whole weeks to prepare for it. No team in any other division cancels Thanksgiving games when they have more important games to worry about. For decades quality teams have faced this “problem” and have never grumbled. What makes you think you’re special?! It is really pathetic, but if you truly need two weeks to prepare for this game, by all means take it. I pity you. Your opponent in this Championship, West Catholic, also has a Thanksgiving game, but they do not feel the need cancel it. And unless you were planning on watching tapes or going to practice at 10 o’clock Thursday morning, the schedules do not conflict at all. This is a haughty move by a team that is really begging to be recognized and respected for finally having the chance to win a chip. If your overachieving team does indeed win the Blue Division, savor it. It could be another quarter century before you win another one. It might also be a while before you find a team that is willing to schedule a tentative Thanksgiving game against a school that is cowardly enough to withdrawal from it at any time. I just wish we covered Tennent so we could hear their side of the story and shut up these Wood kids crying about how hard it is to play two games a mere eight days apart. Boo-Freaking-hoo.
-- Woods
   (Ted's note: Woods and TATE are McDevitt grads, so they're very much enjoying the fact that Wood is taking heat over this decision. Back in our Random Thoughts days, they had spirited, ahem, discussions with Wood guys -- smile.)

It's all about COMMITMENT!!!  Obviously a signed contract means nothing to the decision makers at Wood -- and funny how they wouldn't allow Steve Peters [a pretty good guy by all accounts] to speak on Dom Giordano's radio show Tuesday night -- maybe they were afraid he would publicly disagree with the decision. And regardless of whatever lame excuses the Wood supporters come up with, it's also all about Art Barrett, hiding behind his cloak of "doing what's best for his team".  He wants to retire on the laurels of his perfect season, and is unwilling to take on the challenge of playing William Tennent --  . . . maybe the next coach at Wood will actually teach his players about honor and comittment, and that it's not okay to make a last minute decision to breach a contract and a tradition, in order to better serve one's own needs.   If Wood was playing THIS weekend, there MIGHT be some merit to their decision, but not EIGHT DAYS LATER!!!  They hardly need 2 weeks to prepare for a 6-5 team that they beat earlier this year.
And how about the Wood players not being allowed to attend the Monday night banquet for the Wood and Tennent seniors?  And how about Wood cancelling the JV football game on Saturday?  What - they don't have 20 sophs and juniors that didn't play Friday night that could have played Tennent's JV??
And I don't want to hear Wood whining about Tennent cancelling Wood home games over the years - that only happened when the field conditons were poor.  If they don't like it, let them go play at Hatboro-Horsham or Upper Moreland or Lower Moreland or Council Rock or Central Bucks or Neshaminy - they draw their students from all those school districts, not just Centennial.  Or better yet - BUILD YOUR OWN FIELD.  As a freshman at Wood in 1970, I can remember spending Saturday detention picking up rocks behind the school, as Father Ralph admonished us to "Make it nice for the football field".  What a joke. For  the Wood players' sakes, I hope they win next week.  I know many of those kids - but I would have rather congratulated them in person on Thursday for a well-played game against William Tennent and an excellent season and wished them good luck next week.
Regardless of whether Wood wins next week, there will always be a stain on an otherwise exceptional season.
NOTE TO ART:  I spoke with some of your old Wood teammates today - they don't think much of your decision either.
-- Tom Weiss
WTHS '74

how do you let the guy who isnt going to have deal with alumni and
students anymore make this decision? I know Mr. Peters, and I cant
imagine he was totally in favor of this. Yes, Tennent has bullied Wood
for years, but that is not a good reason/excuse for this. If McCartney
is 5 yards away from a record in two years and Tennent cancels, how
would that go over? Play the game, hell let the younger kids play if
your that concerned with injury. It is really sad this is happening.
Are McD kids still bitter from two years ago? haha.
-- Mike Madera

First off, I'm not a football player, and I don't even go to Wood or Tennent, but I've been really interested in this.  And I just think that it's a shame they couldn't have found a better solution than completely cancelling the game.  They should have let the J.V. guys play.  Also, West Catholic didn't cancel their Thanksgiving game, and the title game isn't for a couple of days.  Playing on Thanksgiving would have given the guys plenty of time to recover.  It's a shame that they couldn't let the teams play, because it's unfortunate when a tradition has to be broken up.  I know I felt bad when the Morrisville/Bristol game was cancelled in 2001.  I just hope that in the future there can be better communication between the two schools so that this doesn't happen again.

I simply cannot believe that Archbishop Wood are voluntarily putting a
gigantic blemish on what may turn out to be the greatest season in school
history.  The reason Wood did so is quite obvious: Tennent is a big time
program who, to this point of the season, boast a winning record after
having endured a full season in one of the most brutal leagues in the state.
  Wood have been a great, classy team all season until this point.  Why cant
they just play their chosen schedule?  Why must they try to gain an
advantage over West?  Yes, I know West are playing Penn Wood but
Fluck would walk on to the field with dignity and face his Thanksgiving
opponent no matter who it was.  In the long run, Wood are hurting themselves
because even if they go undefeated, their overall rankings will not be as
high as they would have been with a win over Tennent.  I stress this because
I do believe that Wood are a better team than Tennent (not that WTHS didnt
have a good chance of winning the game) but I feel bad for the Wood players
who will be at a loss for words when they talk to their Tennent friends
about this situation.  If Wood could have played, and won the Tennent game,
they would be able to farther fool people into thinking they are a better
team than they are.  By the way, what happened to Wood-Prep?(I know it was
cancelled before the season).  Even at 10-0, Lucky Wood!   Thanks Ted- Jimmy
"PAY IT" Price

I say it’s the teachers fault because if there were no strike there would be conflict. So blame it on the teachers -> Smile… How about we all just get along

Tennent's Adminstrators are being less than truthful with their parents, players
and the community. They must be held accountable for their mistake.
At the Conwell-Egan vs Wood game I was in the press box and a person from
Tennent, who I believe has an administrative capacity, came into the booth and
announced that the Thanksgiving Day Game may be cancelled. I looked at her and asked
why? I was afraid that there may have been some problem between the schools but
her answer was, Wood may opt out because of the playoff situation. This was in
the presence of the Tennent clock operator, who is a PIAA official and concurred with
her remark. I also believe the local radio announcer may have heard the remark.
I know many of the people who wrote to the papers and called the radio station.
I will let everyone form his or her own opinion whether or not it is correct to opt
out of game prior to a championship game. But to the many kids on these teams that I
have coached  and to their parents, WITH GOD AS MY JUDGE, that remark was
made, thus Tennent was aware back then that this cancellation was a possibility.
At the West Catholic this same person, who, like I stated, I believe is an
administrator at Tennent, was in the announcers booth again and I questioned her
about the Thanksgiving Day Game, her answer at that time was that it was back
on, I do not know if this was a unilateral decision may by Tennent or a joint
decision by both schools. But the bottom line is, this is not something that popped
up at the last minute, it may be something Tennent's Administration tried to
hide from their players and parents hoping it would not happen. No one will ever know
who would have won or lost the game but one thing is for certain……The administration
at Tennent rolled the dice and lost, don’t make it seem like Art Barrett rolled those dice for you.
As far as being concerned about one players record, let’s not be selfish, football is a team sport.
Championships are won by teams, not by individuals.
I would hope that this game resumes next year and if Wood or Tennent is fortunate enough to
make the playoffs, let alone a championship game, that we all learn a lesson from this year.
Joe Meehan
Warminster, Pa

I am a student at Archbishop Wood, the school mascot & a very intense fan when it comes to football games. When it comes to the Turkey Bowl Game, I have some mixed feelings & emotions. A part of me would love to play the game and a part of me understands where Coach Barrett is coming from.  But let's put it this way, if Tennent was in the same situation we are in - just coming off of a game that you could consider a war with Neumann, where half of our starters are banged up and deserve a rest, and about to play in the championship next Friday - I'm sure they would have done the same we did. But the fact is that Tennent can only wish that they were about to play for the championship and instead we turn out the bad guys . . .  there's no Turkey Bowl Game, but there will be a Chapionship Game, and when it comes to game time - I know that the Viking's Student Section and the Wood Football Team will be fired up and ready for battle! LET'S GO VIKINGS!
signed - "birdman"

why should wood play this meaningless game? sure our coaches are scared one
of the starters are going to get hurt, and why not??? we are going to be
playing for the CHAMPIONSHIP!!!  i agree that thanksgiving day games are
great, but they are usually only meant for bragging rights in a local area. 
a championship season is an incredible thing and under no circumstance
should we try to jeopardize it.  i think the only reason west played is
because fluck knew that curtis brinkley wouldnt be allowed to play,
therefore he had no chance of getting injured.  plus, they are not
undefeated, unlike us.  their is no way we would have been able to focus on
this game, and therefore it may have been in jeopardy.   the bottom line is
this, championships matter a whole lot more than thanksgiving day rivalries
and i am glad the game was cancelled

Open Letter to Art Barrett . . .

The sad atmosphere that surrounded the cancellation of the Wood vs Tennent game
has had so many twists that I believe the real issue was lost and  unreasonable
selfishness and jealousy took over many peoples minds. I commend you for your
courage in standing by your original feeling that guiding your team to a
championship is formost on your mind. I am sure that reading the misinformed
articles and comments in the newspapers and listening to radio shows must have
sickened you. The fact reamins that on or before October 19 you told someone
that you felt it was best to notify Tennent of your intention to
withdraw from the Thanksgiving Day Game, if Wood made the playoffs, and you had
the oppurtunity to help your kids bring the first football championship to Wood
in over 25 years. Tennent was notified and chose not to accept the fact this
possibility existed. People may not have liked your decision but you had the
guts and decency to do what you thought was right, and in a manner that gave
Tennent ample time to secure another opponent for that day, again, they chose
not to pursue an alternate game. Many people support your decision and some do
not. There are some teams that opted out of the post season games in favor of
the playoffs and some agreed to go on with them. I do not believe that any of
those games had the whining that is taking place with this one. It makes you
wonder if there is alternative motive for playing this game. The apparent
slanderous remarks against you should not be surprising, they tried to exploit
the dreams of one of their own players claiming this young man was knocking on
the door of a school record.
The easiest thing for you to do would have been to cower and give into the many
selfish critics, who are like fortune tellers, predicting that if and when
Tennent make it to the playoffs Tennent would still play the game, it is easy
for them to assume that, but I guess desparate situations will draw many varied
comments and PREDICTIONS.
With the relatively small amount of players and lack of depth that Wood has,
your decision wanting to make sure your team enters the championship game
healthy shows the respect you have for your players. Your honesty with Tennent
back in mid October shows your respect for Tennent. Contrary to written reports,
I do not believe this cancellation was something that popped up November 24.
Remember, an administrator from Tennent told me, in the press box, on October 19
that Wood indicated to them the Thanksgiving Day Game may be cancelled. I have
been involved with Wood football since long before the Wood-Tennent game started.
To all your critics who want to teach the kids values and conduct their own Business
Law classes on contractual issues, as I stated before, I still believe that there is a clause
in the contract that addressed the possibility of either team making the playoffs.
One other thing (my turn for a prediction) had you decided to cower and play the

game and one or two key players got hurt, the same alumni critics who are
bashing you now would have labeled you as being crazy and jeopardizing "their"
chance to bring a title back to Wood. You have to enter this game healthy, you
are facing one of the leading rushers in the area in Curtis Brinkley.
I hope your players come out on fire Friday and show their appreciation for you
and your staff for taking the heat you guys have been unjustifiably taking.
Afterall, regardless of how some of your critics feel, this is for a
"Championship". Hopefully, someday they will know the feeling to have that drive
in their heart and the oppurtunity to win a championship.
Remind the kids "What it Takes to be #1", Lombardi,

Good luck,

An Open Letter To Wood,
If your afraid of getting hurt playing football, close down your program.
Ifyou want an undefeated season play and win all your games.
If you want to be in the Catholic League, start acting like a Catholic League
football team .
In case you have forgotten, the Catholic league is noted for their toughness
Play anybody anywhere anytime.
How come you didn't play the Prep? Everybody else who had to play them did!
Coach Barrett should resign, again!
Next year on Thanksgiving, you can always put your team in the parade
They could steer the Cowardly Lion balloon
Finally if God was there at Tennant that fatefull day, He would not have let you
off the hook!

Hello Ted,

As an alumni of Archbishop Wood and a past member of the Football and
Baseball programs, I think it is fair to praise the coaching staff and
leadership of the school for their decision to cancel the Thanksgiving Day
game. The monumental meaning of the Blue Division championship far outweighs
any reason to even play a meaningless game. Yes, the game has meaning for
William Tennant since their season is over, however, would Tennant have
played the game under the circumstances of them being in the PIAA playoffs?
I highly doubt. It would be senseless to risk the potential of an injury to
a key performer, and therefore, detrimental to the chances of bringing home
the Blue Division title. Wood has not been in this position since 1978, and,
it is on right to have your players healthy. This is their Superbowl. The
Administration of Archbishop Wood also game Tennant ample time to find an
opponent for the game. There were quite a few schools that were looking for
a game. Suggestions were even passed along to the Administration at Tennant
to pursue. Obviously, nothing was actively planned. It is easy to criticize
a decision such as this without knowing the full ramifications of a game

that has useless meaning. The natural of the game is that injuries occur.
How would you like to explain the injury of a star player that would not be
able to play in the most important game in the school's history? We would
then be second guessing the decision of playing the game again. Putting a
second string of players in for the game is not a solution either.
William Tennant is a member of the AAAA PIAA and it would be certainly a one sided
game. Not to mention a blemish on an otherwise perfect season. I think it is only

appropriate to praise the decision of the Administration
and Coaching Staff for their courage in this decision.

Ed Lowry (Class of 1991)

Regardless of the thanksgiving day cancellation, I'd like to wish the Wood players
all the best in the championship game. You guys had a great season and deserve
to be proud of your accomplishments.
-- Rocky