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Martha’s Vineyard 33, Nantucket 25 (11/20/10)

November 21, 2010

by Kristen Parker

This game will go down in Rivalry Series history as one of the most unique rivalry games. When else does a visiting team take a ferry to get to the home field? That was the case on Saturday as the Nantucket Whalers took the ferry from Nantucket to Martha’s Vineyard for the 50th Anniversary “Island Cup” game.

Probably the most written-about part of this match-up is the fact that the rivalry game did not take place in 2009. It had been the first time since 1960 that the two teams did not play and both communities were stunned. The match-up returned this year to much anticipation and excitement by both islands.

What made the game more memorable was the fact that the players from the original Martha’s Vineyard Islanders team (the 1960 team) were invited back and recognized at halftime and at a Touchdown Club dinner the night before the game. 19 of the original 28 players, as well as all six cheerleaders, returned to Oak Bluffs for this historic event. They received t-shirts with their player numbers and standing ovations from the crowds.

Coming into the game, both Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket had 7-3 seasons. They play in different leagues (Nantucket playing smaller schools) but Martha’s Vineyard did not let that distract them from the fact that they were there for the coveted Island Cup.

Martha’s Vineyard took the scoreboard first with a touchdown and extra point with 4:18 left in the 1st quarter. Nantucket then took the ball down to the MV 5-yard line but fumbled and the Islanders recovered the fumble. Vineyarders quarterback and game MVP Randalle Jett was moving the ball downfield after recovering a fumble, but turned the ball back over to Nantucket just before the quarter ended.

The Whalers answered with a TD at the start of the 2nd quarter making the score 7-6 as they didn’t make the extra point. After just two minutes, Martha’s Vineyard came back with a touchdown but missed extra point to take a 13-6 lead with 6:07 left in the 1st half. The Vineyarders scored again but failed on a 2-point conversion attempt, now leading 19-6 with 5:27 remaining in the first half. The Whalers scored with 3:54 left in the half, but they also missed a 2-point conversion attempt, making it 19-12 Martha’s Vineyard going into the half.

With 8:46 remaining in the 3rd quarter, the Vineyarders recovered a Nantucket fumble on the 50-yard line, only to fumble the ball back to Nantucket. The Whalers tied the score 19-19 with 7:05 left in the quarter on a 53-yard touchdown pass, making it the closest scoring game the two teams had played in years. The Vineyarders scored with 1:57 left in the 3rd and made the extra point to take a 26-19 lead.

The Whalers intercepted on the 35-yard line with 7:27 left in the game, making it 3 turnovers for each team. With 4:09 remaining, Nantucket ran the ball in to score but fumbled the snap on a 2-point conversion attempt, making it 26-25 Martha’s Vineyard.

The Vineyarders scored another touchdown and extra point to make it 33-25 with 1:18 remaining.

With the cold temps and wind nobody wanted to see this game go into overtime, and a lot of nervous Vineyard fans watched to see if the Whalers could successfully moving the ball down field. But with :54 left in the game, Martha’s Vineyard intercepted and hope to ran out the clock to 33-25 Island Cup win.

In the closest and most exciting game in Island Cup history, the Vineyards took home ‘the Cup’ and along with their first Great American Rivalry Series trophy.


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What is the Great American Rivalry Series?

Each fall for over a century, high school football has been the centerpiece for families and communities on Friday night. In 2004, iHigh, Inc. created the Great American Rivalry Series to celebrate this uniquely American sport and the cultural phenomenon of “Friday Night in America.” The Series shines the spotlight on top high school football rivalries across the nation, where long-standing traditions are valued, expectations are sky high, and followers are committed.