NEWSFLASH: Turkey Bowl to be held at Boyle Stadium for next two years

No.1 Dairen and No. 2 New Canaan met in the 2016 Turkey Bowl at Dunning Field. The game was carried live on the HAN Network. — Dave Stewart photo
No.1 Darien and No. 2 New Canaan met in the 2016 Turkey Bowl at Dunning Field. Wave won its fifth straight 37-34. — Dave Stewart photo

 

The Turkey Bowl, the rivalry football game on Thanksgiving between Darien and New Canaan high schools, will be held at Boyle Stadium in Stamford this year and next.

This year will be Darien’s home game. Next year will be New Canaan’s home game.

That announcement comes from both school districts.

Darien Schools Superintendent Dan Brenner was attempting to find a compromise for some who hoped Darien could play at Darien High School this year.

“With a capacity of over 10,000 spectators, Boyle Stadium is the ideal venue for this traditional rivalry game between the schools, and we are thrilled that our student-athletes will have the opportunity to compete in this exciting environment,” the release said.

The series alternates between each school hosting, but in recent years was moved to Boyle Stadium when the FCIAC Championship was at stake, because of the larger capacity of the stadium behind Stamford High School. The FCIAC no longer plays a championship game.

“Neither school district’s stadium has such a large capacity, which has resulted in many community members from both towns being turned away from attending the event in the past. After much conversation and collaboration between the schools, the decision was made to provide virtually unlimited seating for this exciting rivalry, which allows for alumni, extended families, community members, and football fans region-wide to attend the game,” the release read.

Tickets will be available in advance as well as at the gate on game day.

Last year, the game was held at New Canaan High School. There were 4,700 tickets available for the 2016 game, and they were divided 60% (2,820 tickets) to New Canaan, the home team, and 40% (1,880 tickets) to Darien, according to New Canaan Athletic Director Jay Egan. Tickets sold out in under 40 minutes. No tickets were available at the gate.

A group of Darien High School football parents sent a letter to the superintendent recently asking for consideration to hold the game at Darien HIgh School.

“We would like every possible creative solution explored to increase the egress around the field and have the Turkey  Bowl played with home field advantage. The plan that each year New Canaan will have the advantage of playing at home while Darien will play “away and away” is simply unacceptable and unfair,” they said.

The email was signed by 2017 captain parents, Megan and Martin Pryor, Mo and Kevin Minicus, Michelle and John Neary and Amy and Steve Green.

“Turkey Bowl is a long standing community tradition. a gathering of family, friends, students and townspeople,” they wrote.   

“A highly competitive game,  played against our crosstown rival, on our newly re-turfed state of the art field, creates town pride, school spirit, and a sense of community, not to mention team confidence. The game needs to return back home,” theys aid.

“We need to create a plan that provides capacity in close proximity to the 4,800 tickets New Canaan offered last year. New Canaan offered each football family 10 tickets to the game. While this seems steep, we must be comfortable with a capacity that allows an allocation of 6+ to each football family to ensure grandparents and siblings of players are assured entry,” they said.

“The solutions to increasing attendance may be different short term vs long term, but the solutions need to be explored and implemented .  We recognize this is not an easy request, but we believe it is the right thing to do for our town, our students, our football families, and our players,”

For the second time in three years Darien took the Turkey Bowl in 2016 on an interception — in overtime — earning the Wave a  37-34 victory at Dunning Field.