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Bristol-Morrisville one of few Thanksgiving Day gridiron battles remaining (PHOTO GALLERY)

Bristol senior quarterback Samir Brisbon (4) gets off pass over Morrisville linebacker Brian Strother (54) in annual Thanksgiving Day tilt between the Warriors and Bulldogs Nov. 23 on Bristol's home field. (John Gleeson – 21st-Century Media)

BRISTOL BORO – Though it may be an endangered species, nothing beats the pure joy of two crosstown rivals doing battle on Thanksgiving Day. For Morrisville and Bristol, this was their 88th meeting in one of the only two Turkey Day games left in Bucks County.

Bristol entered the contest as the definitive favorite. They lost only one of their regular season games and averaged over 33 points in nine outings. Their fine showing earned them a trip to the PIAA District 1-12 Class 2A game where they lost to powerhouse West Catholic.

Morrisville, on the other hand, had racked up impressive victories over Valley Forge, George School, Delco Christian and Springfield en route to a 4-6 record. As they proudly wrote on their Thanksgiving roster, this was a team “On The Rise.”

The biggest challenge awaiting both squads was the three-week layoff they faced before their big showdown. Both schools started their regular season early and ended on October 28th, allowing for qualifying teams to play in the district and state playoffs. Such a lengthy practice time favors any injuries sustained during the season but runs the risk of the teams getting cold.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE PHOTO GALLERY AT MEDIA.BUCKSLOCALNEWS.COM

When it comes to a Morrisville-Bristol match-up, being ready is no problem. Though the Warriors held a 50-34-2 advantage in the series and had won all but one of the last 18 games, the Bulldogs were ready to give them a game.

After going three and out after the opening kickoff, Morrisville gained new light when Bristol fumbled the punt on the Bulldogs’ 44 yard line. Quarterback Felix Feliciano started the new drive with a four-yard scamper. A neat little reverse netted Mekhi Crooks enough for a first down on the Warriors’ 45. An offside penalty, a quarterback sneak and a three-yard run by fullback Amir Pack gave coach Derrek Savage’s charges a first down deep in enemy territory. Not only were the Bulldogs moving the ball, but they were keeping the potent Warrior offense on the sideline as the march ate up most of the first quarter clock.

Bristol, however, was not ready to end their win streak. On third down, Danny Collins broke through from his defensive end possession and sacked Feliciano for a 10-yard loss. Collins would be a constant thorn in the “Dawgs” side, sacking the quarterback three times on the afternoon. An unsportsmanlike penalty pushed Morrisville back to their own 40 yard line and forced them to punt.

From here, the running tandem of Eric Bell and Deshawyn Cortz took control of the Warriors’offense. The duo combined to move the ball to the nine yard line. With the Bulldog backs up and thinking run, quarterback Samir Brisbon went over the top and found Khian’Dre Harris with a scoring strike. A little razzle dazzle on the extra point failed, leaving Bristol ahead 6-0 with 9:17 left in the second quarter.

On their next drive, coach John Greiner’s battlers once again relied on the running game with Bell, Cortez and Allen Reyes accounting for most of the damage. Cortez would cap off the drive with 1:43 left on the clock when he hit off left tackle and then sped into the end zone.

Eric Bell would lead all rushers on the day with 115 yards on 11 carries. The versatile Cortez added 50 yards to the Bristol cause. He also hooked up with Brisbon on a nifty 33-yard scoring strike with 6:02 left in the third period. Bell pretty much iced the game when he took off on a 42-yard touchdown scamper with 2:08 left in the third period.

Morrisville refused to roll over. Late in the third period, Felix Feliciano showed his passing ability, combining with Mekhi Crooks on a 61-yard pass up the right sideline that moved the ball to the 21 of Bristol. Feliciano then found James Williams with three aerials that finally stalled on the Warriors’ two yard line. Getting the ball back on a fumble, Feliciano capped the drive with a 1-yard run. Bristol countered on their next drive, using Cortez and Bell to eat up the clock. Bell would ultimately score on an 11-yard run with 3:14 left in the game.

Though Bristol’s 30-6 victory furthered its win streak, none of the packed house crowd was disappointed. Once again, they had been treated to what hopefully will be a long-standing tradition.

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