At the outset, maybe it was nerves, maybe it was the cold wind, maybe there was too much adrenaline, but whatever the reason neither team covered itself with glory. The Vineyard fumbled away the ball on their first possession.
Nantucket started with a penalty, an incomplete pass, and a fumble.
(For those who missed it, NBC will air another Vineyard moment at the half of this Sunday's game.)
Nantucket passed the ball 21 times in the first half. Only four were completions. Three were intercepted, by Jwann Johnson, Nick Gross, and Jeff Osborne. Later, Ben Rossi added a fourth interception.
The Vineyard righted its ship and gave the ball to Cody Brewer who smashed his way up the middle behind a surging purple line for consistent yardage. He finished the game with a team-leading 88 yards rushing. Martha's Vineyard took a 7-point lead on a nine-yard dash by Josh Paulson and a Zach Coutinho kick.
The second quarter began with a 63-yard march by the Vineyard capped by a four-yard scoring sprint by quarterback Mike McCarthy.
The very next play from scrimmage was a pass interception by Nick Gross, who dashed untouched 24 yards for the TD. Coutinho's kick made it 21-0.
When the Whalers failed to field the ensuing kickoff, Anthony Cardoza covered it on the Nantucket 24. It took four plays for Martha's Vineyard to reach the end zone again, Paulson scoring once more.
Martha's Vineyard had scored 21 points in the space of four and a half minutes.
Paulson scored his third TD after receiving a 14-yard McCarthy toss following another Nantucket fumble.
The Martha's Vineyard cheerleaders were hard pressed to keep up counting the Vineyard points with jumping jacks after each score.
Before the half-time break, Mike McCarthy added six more points on a 15-yard run followed by yet another Coutinho kick.
It was 35-0 half-way through the contest.
The second half started with the Vineyard in possession. Runs by Matt Costello, Eric Dolliver, Paulson and a pass to Mike O'Donoghue set up a 15-yard scoring run by McCarthy and another Coutinho PAT.
Coach Herman substituted freely and replaced McCarthy with Nick Billingham at quarterback.
The Vineyard's final touchdown was by Liam O'Callaghan. The point after failed when the centering pass was mishandled.
A shutout was averted when David Loveberry, a fleet-footed sophomore Whaler, broke a tackle and outran the Vineyard secondary 43 yards for the score. The PAT attempt was blocked by what appeared to be the entire Vineyard line.
The Game was too one-sided to be really exciting. Maybe it will be better next year when The Game will be on Nantucket. The Whalers were big enough. Twelve of their players were 200 pounds or more. They did not lack speed, although Martha's Vineyard was quicker off the mark. But they seemed to lack the fire in the belly one expects in a Nantucket team. The prospects are not promising. The Vineyard listed 46 varsity players. Twenty-four of them are seniors who will not be available next year. But the Junior Varsity lists 35 players, all sophomores and freshmen, who will be.
Nantucket's Varsity numbered 28, including 13 seniors. They had no junior varsity team.
The Junior Highs
Nantucket did bring a junior high team, which played the Vineyard seventh and eighth graders to a standstill. There was no scoring for three of the eight-minute quarters, but in the final period Nantucket's Codie Perry broke free from midfield to reach the Martha's Vineyard nine-yard line. Three more Perry rushes resulted in the game's only score. The running try for extra points was stopped.
Nantucket brought 31 uniformed junior high cheerleaders to the fray, more than twice the Vineyard complement.
Forty-four tennis players competed in the 12th annual Turkey Open Tennis Tournament at the Vineyard Tennis Center, Workout and Spa at the airport last weekend, benefit of the Vineyard Project, a camp for children with HIV/AIDS that convenes here every spring.
In the Spirited Division, Phyllis Kugler and Sheila McHugh bested Joan Dunayer and Barb Dutton, 6-1, 6-2.
In the Spirited consolation round Liza Williamson and Julie Moffet outlasted Susan Johnson and Sara Wood in a tie breaker.
The largest division, the Challenger Draw, hosted eleven teams. Both finalist teams made it to the last round by surviving tie-breakers. Jim Pritchard and Sarah Moore beat Rich Kugler and Sharon Spinney, 2-6, 7-5, 10-8, to move on. Edie Blake and Gene Erez outlasted John Potter and Elliott Bennett, 6-1, 4-6, 10-6. Prichard-Moore prevailed in the finals over Blake-Erez, 6-1, 6-0.
Katy Upson and Richard Cohen took the Challenger consolation prize after squeezing by Deurward Hughes and Sue Peltier, 5-7, 6-4, 12-10.
Paul Adler and Liz Roberts earned the top spot in the Expert Division dropping Lucia and Rob Hayman, 6-3, 5-7, 6-1.
Doug and Carla Cooper worked through three matches to take the consolation finals from Jeff Young and Sally Anderson, 6-3, 6-4.
Stop and Shop and Cronig's Market provided turkeys for all the winners.