By Jeremy Caspe
The Nantucket Whalers Football team is playing competitively for the first time in over a year and opposing other schools. As their record sits at 0-2 for now, the team has more to prove as their season progresses.
Friday, March 12, 2021, the Nantucket Whalers’ had their first home football game against Mashpee High School. It was the first of three non-league games for the team, and it played out to be a difficult battle. For the first game in a year and a half, and after losing key seniors, the team put up a good fight. With the MIAAs new COVID-19 protocols, the team had to make some adjustments to the play of the game. These changes included mandatory water-breaks at the halfway point of each quarter signaled by the referee at the first change of possession after the 6:00 mark in the quarter, two-minute timeouts, ten-minute half time, mandatory masks throughout the game, and many more changes. Despite the difficult changes to the games and practices, the team seems to be adapting well so far. Luckily, the MIAA hasn’t given any serious requirements for fans, but the student section did have to get moved to the far left-hand side of the field for the game. This accommodation was seamless and the cheerleaders moved from the bench near the bleachers to the right far side of the field.
This year’s coaching staff consists of Head Coach Joe Perry, Offensive Coordinator Tim Psaradelis, Defensive Coordinator Mark Willet, Assistant Coach Beau Almodobar, Assistant Coach Vaughn Machado, and alongside them are this year’s captains, Gannon Mooney, Jack Wilson, Oscar Waldman, Tyler Andersen, and Malique Bodden.
In their first game, hopes were high, but unfortunately, the team suffered a brutal loss of 43-0. Mashpee is a tough team to beat, as they graduated almost zero seniors last year, whereas the Whalers graduated some of their best players. Sitting on the sideline, Senior Captain Gannon Mooney, while still healing from an ankle injury from the prior basketball season, said that, “Mashpee was tougher than us and they played harder than us. For us to get better at this we need to be a better team in practice. We need to practice like it’s a game and raise the overall intensity. I’m sure having a game experience under our belt will help with the less experienced players but we need to get better as a unit and work harder together.” The team’s second game continued another loss 0-16 against West Bridgewater High School on March 20th.
The team is younger than ever this year, and with the loss of three extremely important players last year, there are very large shoes to fill. But with enough drive and determination, it seems like this team will have a good run this season. The team is scheduled to play five more games this season, an upcoming one including 3/27 against Randolph High School.