Football Team Rides Road to Super Bowl Through Nantucket


The 9-1 Martha's Vineyard football team will fly to Nantucket
tomorrow to battle the 6-3 Whalers, aiming to secure an undefeated
league record - and with it a spot in the state playoffs -
even as they try to win a fourth consecutive Island Cup. Kickoff is 1
p.m. at Nantucket High School.

The matchup between the two archrivals has grown over the decades
into a huge annual event for both Island communities, each of which
boasts an extremely well respected football program. This year marks the
54th meeting of the schools since 1960 and the 25th in which the Island
Cup trophy is at stake.

The game has even attracted attention on a national level because of
the uniqueness of the Island rivalry. USA Today reported just this week
on the competition between the two squads.

If the weather is nice, attendance at what is also Nantucket's
homecoming game is expected to approach 5,000. One forecast calls for
partly cloudy skies and a high temperature of 50 degrees.

The Martha's Vineyard Touchdown Club has organized a special
fan boat to run between the Islands tomorrow. The SSA vessel
Martha's Vineyard will depart from the ferry terminal in Vineyard
Haven at 7 a.m. and will return from Nantucket, with the football team
on board, immediately after the game.

Advance tickets cost $25 for adults and $15 for students and
seniors; and are available at Al Noyes Auto (508-627-8910) and at the
high school cafeteria from 10:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. today. All tickets
sold the day of travel will be $25. Contact Ellen Gaskill at
508-693-3086 with any questions about the fan boat.

Cape Air has also increased service between the Islands for game
day. Multiple flights are scheduled to leave at 9:05 and 11:30 a.m. and
12:35 p.m. Return flights from Nantucket are scheduled at 4:40 and 4:45
p.m. Discounted round-trip tickets are $65 and can be booked by calling
Cape Air at 800-352-0714.

In addition to the fan boat, the Touchdown Club organized a wealth
of activities leading up to the game. A bonfire was held at the high
school last night, a steak dinner will be held for the team tonight and
the school has been decorated all week to help get the student body
charged up for the game. Touchdown Club vice president Phil Hale said
that between 25 and 30 volunteers logged close to 220 hours of work on
preparation for this week alone.

Intensity was high at Vineyard practices this week as the squad
prepared for its last regular-season game. Coaches tried to channel the
excited energy into routine drills and conditioning.

After practice on Tuesday, one player pulled aside head coach Donald
Herman to apologize for letting his intensity get the best of him and
engaging in a scuffle during practice.