Fifty Years of Feud

The Rich History of the Foran v. Law Rivalry


Foran High School Soundings, 1985

Football Flashback: The Foran Lions prepare for their game in 1985.

          November 30, 1985, a seemingly average Saturday went down in Milford history as the one that ignited the sparks of rivalry that had been flickering for the past 10 years. Two days after Thanksgiving, due to inclement weather, Joseph A. Foran High School and Jonathan Law High School met to play in their first Thanksgiving rivalry football game. 

          Although the teams had played each other in the 12 seasons prior, on Thanksgiving morning Foran had faced Stratford and Law had faced Bunnell. Then came the big day, the big game, the one-on-one that ensured Milford residents couldn’t miss a trip to the field prior to their annual turkey feast to witness the cross-town matchup.

          The Thanksgiving day rivalry games have often been an even match, with the first game ending in a 6-6 tie, setting the stage for the next 40 years. 

          Foran Head Coach Thomas Drew says, “The Foran vs Law rivalry is unique in that it is a very even series. I can’t speak for all of the rivalry history, but I do know that today this is a very healthy rivalry.”

          Although the rivalry can now be classified as somewhat friendly, that was not the case 40 years ago following the closing of Milford High School in 1983. 

          Foran class of 1985 alum Jeffrey Phelan explains, “The rivalry at the time was at its peak. Foran and Law hated each other. It’s the one game on our schedule that we couldn’t wait to play. Watching all the varsity games before me and seeing the intensity, determination and emotions, I knew I wanted to be on the winning side of that game. My junior and senior years we beat Law. Those games are still the ones that me and my high school buddies relive every time we get together.”

          Today, the animosity between the two teams has died down, but the matchups are still the most anticipated of the season. Although players from Foran and Law now go head to head, at one time many played for the same Milford recreational teams. 

          Senior Joe Gaetano states, “It’s a unique experience to be able to play against old teammates, and the competitive nature of the game just elevates when we play them. It’s definitely a lot of fun.”

          Rather than an intense and hateful rivalry, the Foran v. Law rivalry serves to motivate and excite the athletes, pushing them to be the best they can, not only for themselves, but for Lion Pride. 

          In addition to motivating the athletes, Foran v. Law matchups garner the biggest crowds and the most attention of any games throughout the season. Students and citizens from all over Milford flock to the fields and gymnasiums to support their respective side of town. Most recently, approximately 5,000 spectators packed the Lawmen Stadium on Thanksgiving morning for the 49th annual Foran v. Law Thanksgiving game.

          Athletic Director Mr. Anthony Vitalli states, “Regardless of the sport or records of each team, when Foran and Law go against each other, it is an exciting and fun event.”

          The Foran v. Law rivalry is not only an integral part of Foran history, but also Milford history. Although the games technically pit the two sides of town against each other, it tends to do the opposite, bring us together. Many see rivalries as hostile and negative, but in Milford we see them as a way to motivate athletes and provide students with a heightened sense of pride, for their school and side of town.