Welcome to a "Sea of Red."
Such was the premonitory speech delivered by 2nd year Barnstable High School head coach Chris Whidden Wednesday afternoon, as the BHS Annual Thanksgiving Day Parade culminated on the Hyannis Village Green, much to the delight of hundreds of fans, parents, players and alumni.
The annual parade - begun in the 1940s as a salute to BHS football players who returned home as veterans from World War II - vanished from the local scene for three years before returning in 2007, with thanks to the school's football booster club, The Quarterback Club, founded in 1967.
Centerville's Judy Lambert, whose son Mark Lambert is a senior wide receiver for the Red & White, chaired the club's parade committee and by all accounts it was a smash hit, replete with theme floats, the BHS Home coming Queen Molly McDonough, a judge's panel, cheerleaders, the incomparable BHS Marching Band and much more.
"It was a lot of fun," said Quarterback Club president John Hardy who was recently re-elected to a second term.
Speakers at the Pep Rally included Coach Whidden, assistant coach Kris Dumas, BHS Athletic Director Steve Francis, BHS principal Pat Clark, Barnstable Superintendent of Schools Mary Czajkowski and of course, BHS senior football captains Andrew Ellis, Bryan Hardy, Tom Grimmer, Ryan Litchman and Nick Peabody.
Peabody went as far to write a poem - with each captain reciting a few lines - which largely called for a "drubbing" of archrival Falmouth tomorrow at William Leo Shields Memorial Field.
The 15-time Massachusetts Division 1 State Champion girls volleyball team was also honored during the parade and pep rally as was mentioned the accumulative grade point average of the senior class of football players. According to principal Clark, the seniors have a "3.2 grade point average, with 9 National Honor Society members and six in the top 25 percent."
This season marks the 120th year of Barnstable High School football and the 125th meeting of Barnstable and Falmouth. For many years beginning in the early 20th Century, Barnstable and Falmouth played first on Columbus Day and then a second time on Thanksgiving Day, or thereabouts. On five different Thanksgivings, Barnstable faced other opponents such as Yarmouth High School and Middleboro High School, for a variety of reasons such as a shortage of players in Falmouth due to World War II.
Floats and unique vehicles in the parade included those loaned by Joyce Landscaping of Marstons Mills, the Hyannis Fire Department, the Hyannis Chamber of Commerce and the Cape Cod S.W.A.T. unit.