, Salem, MA

November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving Preview: Bishop Fenwick (7-3) at Austin Prep (4-6)

Thursday at Austin Prep, 10 a.m. Bishop Fenwick leads series, 7-3

The Salem News

---- — Five things you should know about the Bishop Fenwick-Austin Prep Thanksgiving game:

1. Saying goodbye?: The passing vote that came down last month for the new MIAA playoff format could put an end to Bishop Fenwick and Austin Prep playing on the holiday. Fenwick and Austin Prep have played 10 times on Thanksgiving, this being the seventh meeting in the latest installment. With the new playoff format looming in 2013, Fenwick and Austin Prep will likely switch their Catholic Central League meeting back into the first seven weeks of the regular season.

2. Home cookin’ is preferable: Austin Prep has won the last two Thanksgiving meetings on its home turf, while Bishop Fenwick hasn’t walked out of Reading with a win since it defeated the Cougars, 40-28, in 2006.

3. A tackling machine: If you’re interested in the game-within-the-game, then keep an eye on Fenwick junior safety Nick Bona and how Austin Prep tries to block him. The 5-foot-8, 160-pound Bona has 152 tackles so far this season, with many of them coming at or near the line of scrimmage.

4. Senior sayonara: Fenwick will have some key players — notably captains Jake Brennan, John Coviello and Fran Hannon — competing in their final game for the Crusaders. Look for Hannon to end his career with a bang. The senior signal caller is coming off two huge statistical games — 303 passing yards in a win over Cardinal Spellman, and 116 rushing yards and 206 passing yards in a victory over Arlington Catholic. He’s been thriving since coach Dave Woods has opened up the playbook, which could make it a long morning for the Cougars.

5. Halftime adjustments: The Crusaders have been slow starters at times this fall, but intermission has served them well. Fenwick’s biggest point differential by quarter has been the third, where it has outscored its opponents, 68-20.