Last week’s game for the Nantucket Football team was one to forget. After being thumped 43-8 in a road matchup against the West Bridgewater Wildcats, it set the stage for a vital Friday night matchup against the Dennis-Yarmouth Dolphins today at 4 p.m to open league play.
The Whalers are 0-3 this season and have been outscored 84-36. Junior quarterback Carlos Aguilar has shown his speed, elusiveness, and athleticism at points this season, but is still searching for the first touchdown pass of his season in a run-heavy Nantucket offense.
Nantucket has had issues with snapping the football over the course of the first three weeks. It has led to turnovers on offense and points the other way on special teams. They will need to clean that up if they want to sail him tonight with a victory. Nantucket's offensive success is dependent on their running game and their ability to put together long, sustainable drives to score points rather than explosive plays through the air.
Field position matters, as does limiting the number of penalties they are taking that put them in 2nd and long, third and long situations. That has been another problem plaguing this team early on in the season.
Junior running back Jayquan Francis will look to bounce back after a quiet week last week, and play more similar to the 100-plus rushing yards, two touchdown back that nearly led Nantucket to a victory against the Mashpee Falcons earlier this month. Griffin Fox had his second touchdown run in as many weeks last game on a 57-yard run, so maybe he gets more involved from the get-go.
The Whalers have been dealing with the injury bug of late. Senior running back and safety Kareem Maxwell missed last week’s game following an injury in practice. Defensive end, right tackle, and senior captain Ian Williams was also nursing an injury last week, but ultimately played both ways for Nantucket. Their status will be something to monitor.
On the Dolphins end of things, they will look to avenge a 20-12 loss at the hands of the Whalers last season. DY comes into this game with a 1-2 record. The one common opponent between the two teams is Mashpee. DY lost to the Falcons 12-6 while Nantucket lost 29-28.
The player Nantucket will need to contain is Alex Sheffield. As noted in the Boston Herald, Sheffield carried DY to their lone win of the season with 22 carries for 246 yards and three touchdowns in the Dolphin’s 30-16 win over the Boston English Eagles on Sept. 16.
The Dolphins have been outscored 74-48 this season and their only win was on the road, so they’ll be hungry for a win on their home turf and Nantucket should brace for an energetic start from DY whether they are receiving or kicking off to begin the game.
With this game marking the beginning of league play for both teams, a win will go a long way toward which of these teams will not only be contending for a league championship, but a spot in the MIAA playoffs. The first fall tournament brackets are expected to be released today.