Published November 28. 2013 10:00AM Updated December 03. 2013 9:00AM
Sean D. Elliot/The Day
New London players race onto the field to celebrate their win over NFA in Thanksgiving Day football action Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013. New London emerged with a 9-7 win in the oldest high school football rivalry in the nation.
Norwich – Freshman Garrett Burdick kicked a 40-yard field goal with 5 minutes, 15 seconds remaining as New London defeated Norwich Free Academy 9-7 in their annual Thanksgiving Day game to qualify for the Class L playoffs.
New London, unofficially, will be the fifth seed and visit No. 4 Middletown in the Class L quarters. New London beat Middletown 23-21 on Nov. 8. The Whalers lost a chance at hosting the quarterfinals when Darien stunned No. 1 New Canaan 28-24 and jumped all the way from fifth to first in the playoff standings.
The field goal came after Khaleed Exum-Strong's 58-yard touchdown run with 2:11 remaining in the third quarter gave NFA a 7-6 lead.
The Whalers had broken a scoreless tie less than two minutes earlier on Orrin Parke's 22-yard TD run. Parke finished with 108 rushing yards for New London.
Unofficially, NFA is also a fifth seed in Class LL and will play at No. 4 Southington in Tuesday's quarterfinals.