Photography by David Creed
The 2022 football season didn't end up being what many players and coaches thought it would be entering the year. They had one more chance on Saturday to earn a win before their season came to an end, and they capitalized on that chance in the form of a 42-6 victory over the Holbrook Bulldogs.
Head coach Tim Psaradelis said even after losing the Island Cup the week prior, his team showed up on Monday with a good attitude and it translated to a good week of practice. He said everyone seemed focused on achieving their goal of ending the season on a high note and earning their first victory of the year.
“We lost a couple guys who didn’t want to stick with it but we were able to call some guys up to fill some spots and I thought while this week of practice was more lighthearted, it was a really good week of preparation and I think it led to this group coming out here, playing a good game, and having some fun doing it,” Psaradelis said.
The Whalers scored twice in the first quarter to put the Bulldogs in a two-touchdown hole very early in the game. Sophomore running back Brian Cuello scored the first touchdown for Nantucket on a nine-yard run to make it 6-0, followed by a two-yard run on an ensuing drive by senior running back Griffin Fox to make it a 13-0 game with 6:32 to go in the opening quarter.
Nantucket’s defense was stout for most of the game, however whenever the Bulldogs were able to get their running game going and create some long drives, the Whalers found a way to shut them down.
Fox scored again in the second quarter to make it 19-0, with senior tight end Jeremy Caspe making a nice catch on the two-point conversion where he was able to toe-tap both feet just inside the back line of the end zone to make it a 21-0 game.
“The message from us to the kids going into this game was just go out and have fun playing some high school football,” Psaradelis said. “I think a win is worth 100 losses. The wins will come with work, and I think it is good that these kids were able to walk off that field with a smile on their face to end the season.”
Senior running back Levi Mogenson scored his first touchdown of the season later on in the first half to give Nantucket a 28-0 lead they would take going into halftime.
Nantucket kept executing well on offense in the third quarter. Junior quarterback Carlos Aguilar found Fox for his third score of the game, a 22-yard catch, to make it a 35-0 game. Then Angel Cabrera scored a 15-yard touchdown run to give the Whalers a 42-0 lead.
Aguilar finished the game with eight carries for 39 yards while completing three of his eight pass attempts for 92 yards and a touchdown. Psaradelis touted Aguilar as one of his team's best leaders and most dependable players.
"He is always just rock solid and half of the things he does wrong are probably my fault," he said. "We don't do well, he takes it personal. He is the last kid in the world to walk away when things aren't going well. He is the complete opposite, which is such a contrast from some of the kids who left."
Psaradelis laughed when asked about the possibility of playing Aguilar full-time on the defensive side of the ball next year along with his quarterback responsibilities after he had a strong game playing defense on Saturday as a safety.
"I know he is going to be good at it but there is the issue of keeping him healthy since he is the quarterback," Psaradelis said. "In eighth grade he was a beast on defense. He has good vision and is physical for a kid his size. He is just very naturally talented."
Nantucket began to rotate players into the game for the remainder of the third quarter and all of the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs were able to punch in a score from 21-yards out in the final minutes to make it 42-6. That score would stand as the final.
Fox and senior defensive end Ian Williams led the team with eight tackles while Caspe, who also plays defensive end, and senior defensive back Gillis Cocker had seven tackles. Cocker added an interception in the first quarter.
On offense, Fox finished as the team’s leading rusher with 87 yards on nine carries while adding 22 yards receiving on his touchdown grab. Seniors Aidon Ranney and Sean Murphy each made 30 and 40-yard catches respectively in the game. Ranney laid out for his grab, and Murphy had an incredible touchdown where he deked out several Bulldog defenders, but it was called back after a block in the back by one of his teammates in the first half.