Rivalry with Hopkinton
History of the Rivalry
The rivalry between Ashland and Hopkinton has thrived ever since Unionville was incorporated on March 6, 1846. Unionville--a name which the town would change to Ashland, received a few thousand acres from neighboring Hopkinton (among other neighboring towns). Incorporating was Ashland’s first success in the budding rivalry, as Hopkinton had resisted the young town's effort for several years.
The victory was only briefly savored, as Massachusetts jilted Ashland, and bestowed the name Hopkinton State Park to the beaches and trails predominantly in the new town. Still, Ashland overcame that loss, when the first Boston Marathon started in Ashland on April 19, 1897. Although, the victory was short-lived, as the Boston Athletic Association extended the race another 0.3 miles--into Hopkinton, in 1924.
For the next few decades Hopkinton and Ashland Hopkinton and Ashland traded tit-for-tat. By 1970, the National Football League and the American Football League had merged, and annual High School Thanksgiving Day Football Games continued with renewed vigor. For their part, Hopkinton and Ashland continued to compete each Thanksgiving, with the towns' sports rivalry cemented for future generations. Since its first season in 1978, Ashland High School Soccer has embraced the challenge of defeating Hopkinton.
From 2007 to 2009, a new tradition, the Annual Alumni Game, prolonged the rivalry beyond either school’s diploma. The hotly contested matches served the dual purpose of highlighting the desire for each town to top the other, along with an opportunity to meet with old friends, to reflect, and to support budding soccer enthusiasts.
Steve Leacu of the Ashland Historical Society offers his take on the rivalry, here.
Ashland 2 - 1 Hopkinton in the 2004 Div. III State Tournament