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The Kirkwood Call

Kirkwood High School student newspaper

The Kirkwood Call

Kirkwood High School student newspaper

The Kirkwood Call

Tackling Turkey Day

Senior+football+players+stand+as+captains+before+their+game.
Abe Rappaport
Senior football players stand as captains before their game.

Thanksgiving: the day most Americans will spend laying by the fire, watching the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and avoiding politics at dinner. Not in Kirkwood. Since 1907, KHS and WGHS have spent their Thanksgiving day stuffing themselves into a high school stadium, carrying nothing but the essential hot-hands and town pride. While this event is considered a cherished tradition on both sides, Jaiden Sloan, senior and wide receiver, said there is a large amount of pressure put on both football teams. 

“This isn’t just another game, and I definitely get more nervous for [the Turkey Day game],” Sloan said. “But I think it’s [healthy] and shows how badly I [want to] win.” 

Sloan said he’s felt this way throughout his entire football career, from when he started playing in third grade to when he made varsity his sophomore year. Sloan said the nerves help him focus more on the game, something he will need in the KHS’ annual Turkey Day game. 

“Seeing KHS alumni and a full student section puts a lot more pressure on the team,” Sloan said. “I know I’ll [have to] kill on the little things [and] execute on a higher level.” 

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“Seeing KHS alumni and a full student section puts a lot more pressure on the team, I know I’ll [have to] kill on the little things [and] execute on a higher level.”

— Jaden Sloan

Sloan said he doesn’t only worry that he’ll disappoint the Kirkwood community, he knows the seniors on the team don’t want to leave as the ones who lost Turkey Day. Having played the previous two Turkey Day games, Sloan said he prioritized winning the game for the past seniors, and hopes the underclassmen will do the same for him.

“Turkey Day isn’t just [big] for seniors,” Sloan said. “Nobody on the team wants to lose at home, especially not to Webster.” 

Like Sloan, Rick Williams, senior linebacker, agrees that the whole team feels the stress on Turkey Day. Despite this, he said that Turkey Day is more of a ‘gimme’ game; a matchup Kirkwood knows they can win. With the fun traditions and cheerful atmosphere around it, this game is one of Williams’ favorites. 

“It’s really cool to see the community join together on Thanksgiving,” Williams said. “Kirkwood’s been having a great season, so it’s hard to [doubt] that we’ll win.” 

As a linebacker, Williams also said he pushes himself to work harder in warm-ups on Turkey Day. He said having such an energetic student section and a strong rivalry gives him a rush of adrenaline.

“The game goes back so many years and [brings in] a lot of support from the [community],” Williams said. “It [usually helps] me get more physical when I play.”

Zyan Royal, senior and running back, shares Williams’ joyful approach to the Turkey Day game, Royal said he loves the rivalry and traditions that come with it. Royal is a recent transfer student from Parkway North, so this year will be his first year playing in the annual game. He said he plans on enjoying the experience by winning. 

“The team here has really embraced me, it feels like I’ve been [a part of this] rivalry for longer than just a year, I [feel] extra ready to ring that bell.”

— Zion Royal

“[This year,] people have really been hyping up the game,” Royal said. “I’m excited to see what really goes on [during] Turkey Day.” 

Though Royal transferred to KHS his senior year, he has already made his mark as a starting running back. Royal said there’s no big rivalry at Parkway North, so he’s excited to finally participate in such a big game. 

“The team here has really embraced me, it feels like I’ve been [a part of this] rivalry for longer than just a year,” Royal said. “I [feel] extra ready to ring that bell.” 

Three star players of KHS football, Sloan, Williams and Royal have said they feel pressured to win the upcoming Turkey Day game. But at the end of the day, these seniors all believe that the game is a highlight of their season. 

“[Turkey Day] is a great [combination] of pressure, excitement and adrenaline,” Sloan said. “I’m always excited to play in the game, this year especially because it will be my last.” 

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Mia Intagliata, opinions editor
She/Her Hobbies and Interests: reading, spending time with friends, watching movies and hiking Favorite movie: Napoleon Dynamite Favorite Quote: "Infinity above ground pool”
Abe Rappaport, photo editor
He/Him Hobbies and Interests: playing baseball, playing racquetball, hanging out with friends and watching sports Favorite movie: Inglorious Bastards Favorite Quote: "If you're going though hell, keep going." -Winston Churchill
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