Wellesley and Needham's football teams met for the first time in 1882. Tomorrow, they meet for the 125th time (with a few years taken off because of World War I). According to a Boston Herald story from last year, this is the country’s oldest public high school rivalry.
But is it the best rivalry in Massachusetts? USA Today's High School Sports site is looking for the Best High School Rivalry in the Commonwealth. The Needham-Wellesley game is one of three rivalries selected for the Mass. poll. Also on the list, Salem versus Beverly and St. John's Prep in Danvers vs. Xaverian in Westwood.
Voting ends on Dec. 3, and then the contest searches for the best rivalries in four regions across the nation (voting until Dec. 13).
The contest winners, who will be named after National voting closes on Dec. 19, could score $10,000 split between the rival schools. The USA Today team will show up to cover, live, the 2013 game as well.
While Wellesley has the edge, with a 59-57-9 all-time record, Needham has two years straight going into this game according to the USA Today High School Sports poll.
The following is via the Needham High School Athletics Department:
Select America's Best High School Football Rivalry:
USA TODAY High School Sports is opening the competition for America to vote on the best high school football rivalry in the country. On the line is $10,000 to be split between the two winning teams.
VOTE NEEDHAM vs WELLESLEY at: http://contest.usatodayhss.com/vote/ma
State Competition: Choose the best rivalry in each state. Voting began at 11 a.m. EST on Monday, Nov. 19. It will end at 11 a.m. EST on Monday, Dec. 3. The 51 winners (each state plus Washington D.C.) will advance to the regional competition. Vote as many times as you want.
Regional Competition: The 51 state winners will be divided among four regions. Voting on those four regions begins at 11 a.m. EST on Wednesday, Dec. 5, and ends at 11 a.m. EST on Wednesday, Dec. 12. The four regional finalists will then advance to the championship round.
National Competition: Voting for the best national rivalry among the four regional winners will begin at 11 a.m. EST on Thursday, Dec. 13, and will end at 11 a.m. EST on Wednesday, Dec. 19. The nation's best high school rivalry will be crowned.
Prizes: The overall national champion rivalry will receive $10,000 to be divided equally between the athletic departments of the two schools. In addition, USA TODAY will report live on that rivalry game in 2013, and will present the schools with a trophy that will be kept each year by the winning team.