MV retains Cup in dramatic
By RUSS CHARPENTIER, email@example.com,
November 18, 2012
OAK BLUFFS The Island
Cup taketh, and the Island Cup giveth away.
That's how players,
coaches and fans from Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard felt late
Saturday afternoon after another magically wild Cup showdown.
Martha's Vineyard used
a desperation fourth-quarter rally to pull out a ferociously
played 27-26 victory over Nantucket before close to 5,000 frenetic
fans at Daniel G. McCarthy Memorial Field crowd.
I'm at a loss for
words, said MV coach Donald Herman after the Vineyarders scored
13 points in the final 4:13 to stun the Whalers in the 65th
meeting of the island rivals. You just can't script anything like
MV senior quarter Alec Tattersall joins the legion of clutch performers in this remarkable series, which was near extinction just three years ago.
The winning touchdown was an 8-yard TD pass from Tattersall to junior Joe Turney. Turney, on the third of his three scores, caught the ball in the right flat at the 3-yard line and took it in untouched for the winning points. The touchdown created a frenzy in the Vineyard stands and settled a crestfallen silence upon the Whaler faithful.
“You leave a team that has some senior leadership, you give them a chance to win, they are going to be able to pull it out,” Nantucket coach Bill Manchester said.
Nantucket was looking for its first Cup win since 2002 and looked to have the game sown with a 26-14 lead up until Tattersall (13 of 25, 230 yards) and his receivers started connecting as the pressure mounted in the final minutes.
MV (7-4) still trails in the overall series 35-27-3. Nantucket finishes the season 4-7.
There was a strong sense of déjà vu thanks to the dramatic finish.
“People still talk about the 1992 game,” Herman said. “It was the first time in 20 years we beat Nantucket over there. We were down 12-0, 4:46 to go in the game (and won 14-12). As far as the rivalry goes, this game is No. 2 (favorite). That was special because that was the first one.
“When I looked up at the clock today it was 4:41 to go, 26-14, a 12-point deficit. I turned to coach (Bill) Belcher, some other coaches and players and said 20 years ago, this is eerily similar. Lightning can strike twice.
“Damned if it did.”
Herman's team spent the time before Saturday's game – you guessed it – watching the film of that '92 victory.
“We're always going to think we have a shot,” Tattersall said. “We just watched the 1992 game before the game. This was Part 2.”
Tattersall echoed the sentiments of the thousands of Vineyarders fans at the game.
“Without a doubt this is my best win,” he said. “Our teams have had come from behind wins a lot, but against Nantucket, with everybody here. It's unbelievable.”
The winning drive started with 2:51 left on the Vineyard 20. It encompassed 12 plays, including a miraculous 31-yard completion on a fourth-and-16 to Brandon Watkins from the 14. He also had a third-and-10 completion for 17 yards to Turney that took it the 8 the play before the winning touchdown.
“There might have been some confusion in their lineup,” the quarterback said. “I figured they would have known it was passing, but I kept finding them open and I kept hitting them.”
Tattersall threw a 50-yard TD pass to senior Brandon Watkins with 4:13 left, and Mike Cutrer's third extra point brought MV to within 27-21.
Cutrer finished 3-for-3 on extra points and that proved the difference.
Nantucket missed three extra-point kicks and one 2-point conversion attempt.
“Our 3-yard world, our extra points, whether it's kick or going for 2,” moaned Manchester. “This is the fourth game out of five it's come back to haunt us.
“I look at it, we lost (to MV) by eight two years ago, lost by three last year and now by one. The only way we can go is forward.”
Nantucket rushed for 305 yards, but went 3-and-out on its final two drives with the lead when running more time off the clock could have clinched victory.
Dylan Perry rushed for 110 yards on eight carries, including an electrifying 85-yard score just over two minutes in. He also scored on a 5-yard carry early in the third quarter, diving over the left pylon for a 20-7 lead.
Hunter Gray, playing a lot of fullback because of an injury to Rick Coleman, ran wild in the second half and gained 114 yards on 21 carries for the Whalers Turney led the Vineyarders with 75 yards on four carries along with four receptions for 73 yards. Watkins rushed for 62 yards on nine carries and Jahmari Thomas caught six balls for 75 yards.
“This is going to take some time to really sit back and enjoy,” Herman said. “My hat goes off to Nantucket. They played one hell of a football game. Billy had his guys ready. They gave us everything we could handle and more.”
Turney answered Perry's long TD run with a 20-yard TD of his own with 10:41 left in the second quarter, and Cutrer's extra point gave MV its only lead before the winning score.
Whaler QB Bryan DePass scored from the 1 with 40 seconds left in the half, and Perry's 2-point run made it 14-7 at the break. A 38-yard pass-and-run over the middle to Terrel Correia put the ball on the 1.
The opening kickoff of the second half was lined off a Vineyard front-line player, giving the Whalers the ball right off the bat in the third quarter. It took Nantucket four plays to move 54 yards, the first 46 covered by Dylan O'Connor and the last five by Perry for a 20-7 lead.
MV responded in just one play, Turney racing 36 yards for a score after a long MV kick return. The extra point made it 20-14.
The Whalers, of course, responded. They marched 58 yards in six plays, a 32-yard run by Gray moving the ball to the MV 9. Gray took it home on the next play, but the kick failed and it was only 26-14.
Believe it or not, the action was just heating up.
“It was a great high school football game,” Manchester said. “Obviously, it stings right now. It's going to be tough to watch this one on film.
“It's a tough one to take. Hopefully our young guys, when we say take care what you're supposed to in the classroom, in the weight room, we mean it.
“We haven't always done that as a program and this is the result.”