7:44 PM / Monday June 5, 2023

2 Dec 2021

West Philadelphia Speedboys take back the Turkey Bowl trophy after defeating the Overbrook Panthers, 24-6

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December 2, 2021 Category: Sports Posted by:

ABOVE PHOTO: West Philadelphia Speedboys quarterback Carlos Rivera holds the Turkey Bowl trophy surrounded by his proud teammates. (Photos courtesy Napoleon F. Kingcade)

By Napoleon F. Kingcade

For the first time in two years, in a Thanksgiving Day rivalry dating back to 1923, the West Philadelphia Speedboys played Overbrook High in a football game that brought more excitement and joy to the Turkey Bowl Tradition. After not having a Turkey Bowl Game in 2018 and losing the Turkey Bowl trophy in 2019, the Speedboys faced the next year without a win. In 2020, the coronavirus pandemic forced the shutdown of the entire Public League season and left many high school players without playing any games at all.

Today, this popular neighborhood rivalry continues to be a strong one in West Philadelphia, and the fans proved their point on Thanksgiving Day, when hundreds of Overbrook and West Philly spectators filled the seats at the 98th Annual Turkey Bowl Classic.

The Speedboys, a rough and tough football team, just coming off a tough loss to Boys Latin in a Public League playoff game, were ready to play some football. They were determined to beat Overbrook High and put the Turkey Bowl trophy back inside their case. They wanted to do it for themselves and for Frank Steed, who was coaching his last game after eight years serving as head coach, and that’s exactly what they did in front of their great fans on West’s field at 48th & Spruce Streets.

Overbrook High Panthers try to stop a running play by the West Philly Speedboys.

Entering this game, despite the Speedboys’ 1-6 and Overbrook’s 2-5 record, the football rivalry between these two teams has always been a competitive one on the gridiron. For three hours, the crowd watched a great Turkey Bowl game that never missed a beat.

In the Speedboys’ opening drive, they jumped on the scoreboard in the first quarter when Robert Presbry returned a punt for a 29-yard touchdown. Presbry, who also plays wide receiver, splashed into the endzone after returning the punt. After catching the punt, Presbry managed to avoid being tackled by five Overbrook players. He took off towards the end zone and scored the touchdown and never looked back. The crowd went wild, and fans gave him a standing ovation. The Speedboys led the Turkey Bowl Game, 8-0, after they added a two-point conversion.

The Speedboys held the lead until early in the second quarter when quarterback Carlos Rivera hit wide receiver Kentrell Dancy with a pass that resulted in a 55-yard touchdown. The Speedboys then added on two more points as they led the game, 16-0 at halftime.

In the third quarter Dancy scored another touchdown for the Speedboys. This time, Dancy made a nice cut and caught a short pass in the red zone. He sprinted into the end zone and scored the touchdown. That gave the Speedboys a 22-0 lead. Presbry scored a two-point conversion which made the score, 24-0. Early in the fourth quarter, the Speedboys had a chance to score another touchdown, but Rivera’s 10-yard rushing touchdown got wiped off the scoreboard. The referee called a holding penalty on the Speedboys.

Speedboys head coach Frank Steed.

The score remained 24-0 until Overbrook quarterback Darrell Chapman threw a touchdown pass with 1:33 left in the third quarter. That made the score 24-6 in favor of the Speedboys.

In the fourth quarter, the Overbrook Panthers couldn’t get anything going on the football field. Overbrook’s quarterback kept missing his targets. He missed many of his receivers and got sacked several times. The Speedboys were able to play tough defense against the Overbrook Panthers. When the 2021 Turkey Bowl was over, the Speedboys had won the game, 24-6. 

When the team celebrated on the field, Steed was given the game ball from the Speedboys’ squad. With tears in his eyes, Steed told his players how happy he was to coach them for eight years and also told them to continue to meet their challenges. He said they would need to do that to get them through obstacles in their lives.

After the players said their final goodbyes to Steed, the Speedboys gathered on the field and held up the 2021 Turkey Bowl Trophy. They let the entire neighborhood know they ran “the Westside.” In this Turkey Bowl rivalry, football fans can expect nothing less from these players. These same football players have to be role models and lead by example. The future is in their hands.

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