The Mayfield Cardinal football program is no stranger to traditions, whether it’s running out of the tunnel wielding American flags, a Morris pacing the sidelines or the donning of their signature red helmets.
One special tradition that has molded itself over the last 20 years is the Cardinals’ annual “Friday after Thanksgiving” playoff game.
Mayfield has managed to will itself to this point in the postseason for 21 consecutive seasons, going 12-8 during this stretch and going on to win six state championships.
During a regular football postseason in Kentucky, the Friday following Thanksgiving would be week four of the postseason and a trip to the state championship game would be on the line.
But of course, this is no normal football season.
This year’s post-Thanksgiving Day game will be just the second round of the Class 2A playoffs, featuring a matchup between the Cardinals and the Murray Tigers.
Although this year’s final November playoff game is only a week two contest, Morris said the Cardinals’ preparation remains the same.
“To be honest, it’s still an important game,” Morris said. “Most of the time your opponents are good from this round all the way until the end of the playoffs, that’s just how it is. We’ve got a great opponent in Murray High this year so we’re excited, we know we’ve got a big, physical football team to beat.”
During a season of uncertainty, Mayfield head coach Joe Morris said he believes the Cardinals are blessed to prepare for another post-Turkey Day game.
“Our kids are used to coming in on Thanksgiving and practicing and then going to have dinner with their families,” Morris said. “The great thing about this game is a lot of people are back in town. Former players come back to see family and then come out and watch some Thanksgiving Day practice. It’s a really great addition and I’m just glad we get to experience it again. A lot of teams have their stuff put up by this time so we feel that we are really blessed to have this.”
Last season, the Cardinals celebrated Thanksgiving by preparing for their fourth round matchup against Beechwood, a game Mayfield would win handedly 35-7.
Looking back on all of the important, nail biter type games Mayfield has played in over the years following Thanksgiving Day, Morris gave praise to his many players, coaches and faculty members that have made the Cardinals’ success possible.
“We’ve been blessed with some great players and I’ve been blessed with some great coaches,” Morris said. “We’ve got kids that go out there and play hard, coaches that coach hard and an administration that backs us and this is what our program expects, to be playing the day after Thanksgiving.”