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There was much at stake as Green Wave and Rebel football dueled on Thanksgiving Day at New Milford High School.

NMHS had the chance, with a victory, to register its first .500 season in several years.

Coach Chuck Lynch's Green Wave also wanted to put on a good show for a large and exuberant crowd, who were buoyed by the gorgeous holiday weather.

Then, of course, there was the matter of the Candlewood Cup, symbolic of supremacy within the arch-rivalry between the two South-West Conference schools.

With all that on the line, the Green Wave rose to the occasion with a 31-28 triumph.

Ben Bayers booted a 29-yard field goal early in the fourth period and the NMHS defense played some of its best ball during the final moments to clinch a satisfying win.

Green Wave quarterback Connor Shanahan had fired a pair of touchdown passes to Liam Lynch, another TD strike to Connor Burns and handed off to Kih Best for six points as NMHS built a 28-7 lead in the second period.

The Rebels fought back to deadlock matters, however, to set the stage for Bayers' heroics.

The win leveled the Green Wave's record at 5-5 as it closes the books on the 2011 season.

-- Norm Cummings