100th meeting for Central and Harding full of Thanksgiving football memories

One of the state's oldest high school football rivalries will be renewed this week - the 100th time Bridgeport Central and Harding High will meet on the gridiron.

Mark Sudol

Nov 22, 2022, 10:27 PM

Updated 567 days ago

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One of the state's oldest high school football rivalries will be renewed this week - the 100th time Bridgeport Central and Harding High will meet on the gridiron.
The Bridgeport Central High School Hilltoppers are preparing to host their crosstown rival, the Harding Presidents, in the biggest game of the year for both schools at Kennedy Stadium.
Both schools are looking for their first wins of the season.
"These guys grew up with each other. You know, this is bragging rights for the whole city, and you can throw the records out the window at this point," said Central coach Tom Broschardt.
The two schools first met on the football field in 1926. Through the years, they each won several state titles and produced some of the toughest players in Connecticut. For this Thanksgiving matchup, the stands were always packed.
"I've seen the picture, the picture's crazy," said Central senior captain Jason Villa.
"It was everything, it really was. That was the Super Bowl. It was the city championship and that was the big one," said Dave Cadelina, who coached Central for 16 years starting in 1997.
Broschardt says the last few weeks have been a trip down memory lane.
"Pictures of 1918 Bridgeport High School team that we looked up the state champs. I've gotten emails from alumni from the late 1960s," said Broschardt.
The players knew the Thanksgiving game meant everything.
"One team went home with a big smile that lasted a year and the other team went home and didn't want to eat, and they were very upset," said Cadelina.
The Presidents lead the Thanksgiving Day series with 57 wins.
This is not the oldest rivalry in America. That belongs to the rivalry between Norwich Free Academy and New London, which dates back to 1875.
The game will be played this at 10 a.m. Thursday at Central High School.


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