Patrick Charlton doesn’t want to beat Beverly High Thanksgiving morning solely for himself. The Salem High two-way lineman wants to do it for his fellow seniors, the rest of his football teammates and coaches, his school and his city.
But Charlton especially wants to beat the Witches’ arch rivals for his family — specifically, his two older brothers, Nick and Taylor.
“Nick (28-7 in 2006) and Taylor (28-14 a year later) both lost to Beverly in their senior seasons,” said the Salem captain. “So I’d really like to get a win so we can all celebrate it.”
The Witches (2-8) will be a decided underdog when they host Beverly (6-4) in their 115th meeting on the holiday at the new Bertram Field (10 a.m.). But that doesn’t bother Charlton — nor does the fact Salem has lost eight of their last 10 meetings against the Panthers or haven’t beaten them at home since 1999.
“If we could beat them, it’d be like our Super Bowl,” said Charlton.
Having grown up around Salem High football with his teammate, fellow senior Austin Connolly, Charlton is well versed in what it means to take part in one of the state’s oldest Turkey Day rivalries. He and Connnolly (nephew of head coach Scott Connolly) were waterboys for the Witches for four years (5th to 8th grade), and Charlton was eager to carry on the family name when it was his turn to play for the varsity.
The 5-foot-11 Charlton, who began the season at 203 pounds but now weighs “190-ish, I’d say,” was a tight end and outside linebacker for most of his high school career. But position scarcity for Salem at both offensive tackle and defensive end meant he switched positions for his senior season.
“Without question Patrick’s a skill position guy,” said Scott Connolly. “But he never complained or said a word when we asked him to change to a lineman. We felt he’d do well because he’s athletic and a strong kid who finishes his blocks.”