NANTUCKET — Fueled by a lopsided loss to Abington in the Division 7 South final, the Nantucket football team was determined to end its season on a high note when it hosted Coyle & Cassidy in a first meeting that both teams hope will blossom into a longstanding Thanksgiving rivalry.
Senior quarterback Darian Duarte sparked the Whalers (7-4) with two touchdown passes and another TD on the ground in a 21-14 victory over the visiting Warriors (6-4).
“It wasn’t hard for me to man the offense; I respect those guys, and they respect me,” said Duarte, who played QB sparingly throughout the season. “I want to say this was like fate, like it was meant to be. But this feels unbelievable. It’s indescribable.”
After running for a 6-yard touchdown on Nantucket’s opening drive, Duarte extended the Whalers’ lead to 21-7 with two touchdown passes in the third quarter. Junior wideout Malique Bodden caught a 19-yard pass down the left sideline before Duarte (11 of 19, 141 yards, 2 TD, INT) rolled to his right and threw a 15-yard strike to senior Torane Burton with 1:50 remaining in the third quarter.
Coyle & Cassidy answered on its ensuing drive, as senior Jackson Murray ran for a 2-yard TD which cut the visitors’ deficit to 21-14 after junior Michael Silvestro booted his second extra point of the night with 9:40 remaining in the game.
The Warriors offense had one last chance, but Bodden intercepted Jake Santos to give the ball back to the Whalers with 50 seconds to play.