Head coach Cliff Ice doesn’t spend his Thanksgiving morning or afternoon sleeping in or helping prepare the evening’s feast. For the 14th year, Ice will spend his Thanksgiving Day coaching his Webster Football Team in the 105th Turkey Day Game.
It’s all worth it, according to him. To him, “[Turkey Day] is an event much larger than just a football game. It’s a celebration with both communities. It defines both communities. It’s what everybody in Webster and Kirkwood does on Thanksgiving at noon: they go to the Turkey Day football game.”
Ice has been involved with football for a long time. This is his 26th year of coaching. He played as an outside linebacker in high school and at Southwest Oklahoma University. He’s no stranger to competition and rivalries. According to him, the Webster-Kirkwood rivalry is different.
“It’s different because it’s wrapped around a holiday,” he said. “It doesn’t matter how good the teams are—noon on Thanksgiving and everyone is there. You always have people who have been involved with this game come back. Generations of people who have played in the Turkey Day Game,” Ice said.
Ice agreed with the general consensus that the Webster-Kirkwood rivalry is the biggest rivalry in St. Louis. However, the magnitude and the competitive nature of the rivalry and this game doesn’t change his coaching philosophy. He said he does “nothing different” to prepare for this game compared to other games. “It’s all about due diligence every week, Turkey Day or not,” he said. “It’s about managing the distractions—just like the playoffs.”
About how he feels about the Junior Varsity teams having to play when one if the teams go far in the playoffs, he said, “I don’t know the answer to that. I realistically didn’t think it would come up that much.”
Either Webster or Kirkwood has gone to the State Semi-Finals or State Finals the past four years. “Obviously playing two games in a one-week period is not an option for either school.”