A hundred and fourteen years ago, yesterday, Kirkwood and Webster engaged in their first football game – ever. The game ended in a 6-6 tie and established the teams as equals in their initial encounter. Many other coincidences have occurred over the years, such as the first game in which the Frisco Bell was awarded ending in a 0-0 tie and the celebrated centennial of the Turkey Day Game also happened to be the hundredth football game played between the schools. The scriptwriter of the Game’s history possesses an interesting sense of drama.
After 1988, the first cancellation of the game since 1927, a decade of worry ensued that the Turkey Day Game would be cancelled because of the conflict presented by the Show-Me Bowl championship series. Everything remained fine until 2002, when began a great disturbance in games for the next decade. Since 2002, the Turkey Day Game has now been cancelled by the varsity teams seven out of the eleven years of opportunity and the varsity teams have not played on Thanksgiving Day for now four consecutive years, which has not occurred since 1928.
The cancellation of the varsity games is mitigated by two factors: First, the cancellation has meant that one of the two teams was playing for the Missouri state football championship and; second, in the past four-year span, two varsity games have been played as a part of the Show-Me Bowl series. Without those two games, alumni might have rioted.
The new Missouri football championship series has finally implemented a system that benefits the Turkey Day Game (and the overall Adams Road Rivalry) because it greatly increases the probability that a varsity game will occur annually and the Turkey Day Game will only be cancelled by the varsity teams if one of the teams is in the Show-Me Bowl championship game. In the previous system, the only way for the two teams to meet was if they both made it to the semifinal game and the result of them both being there would definitely cause the cancellation of a varsity Turkey Day Game.
This year, in 2012, alumni hoped to have two varsity games for the first time in 29 years, but expected to have only one. That expectation was fulfilled last Friday night when the Kirkwood Pioneers beat Parkway Central to earn the chance at their first state championship title.
This year, Kirkwood football celebrates its 115th season of football and it is also now known that its 1894 inauguration has it tied as the oldest high school football program in Missouri. Friday night will be the third chance for Kirkwood to make new and unique school history.
By Shawn Buchanan Greene
Webster Alumnus 1987