The Whaler football team was trounced by the Sandwich Blue Knights last year at home 30-9 and head coach Joe Perry said his team has been thinking about that all week as they prepared for today’s rematch at 1 pm in Sandwich.
“Sandwich always has athletic kids on their football team and they have a solid program,” Perry said. “We have talked about it. We have also talked about how we need to bring the physicality. Guys in the trenches need to play well and we need to make sure our 11 best players are always on the field and not coming off for a series or two.”
Perry said the keys to the game for Nantucket are to put points on the scoreboard quickly and be fast and furious on offense.
“We also need to play the same physical, defensive football we saw against Dennis-Yarmouth with the gang tackling,” Perry added. “I want to see that defense again. We need to be banging their quarterback. We need Jeremy Caspe and JJ Bennett on him all game long while setting the edge in the run game.”
Perry said getting running back Justin Bloise more involved will be a priority for his team and necessary if they want to score points early on in the game. He said with the Whalers well rested after last week’s bye and another bye week coming up next week, he doesn’t see why Bloise can’t get 20-plus touches per game.
“We need to utilize him and he is going to have to carry the load for us,” he said. “He can score from anywhere on the field. He only had nine touches I believe last game so I want to see that in the high teens or in the 20s. as long as he has the stamina and the body strength to do it. With the byes we have on our schedule this would be a good time to test that out.”
Perry said the bye was a double edged sword. The Whalers were originally supposed to take on the Monomoy Sharks but the game was cancelled. Whether Nantucket is credited with a win is still being reviewed. But Perry said while they couldn’t get game reps, they were able to work on some technical things in practice while getting healthy.
The Whalers will need that if they want to come out of Sandwich with a win today. The Blue Knights are 3-1 and led by running back Patrick Morin, who scored a pair of touchdowns last year against Nantucket and had over 100 yard rushing. Blue Knights head coach Matt Mclean said he knows Nantucket has a lot of speed that needs to be contained.
“They always have some really good athletes and we have a good idea of who we need to key in on,” McLean said. “We just need to come and be prepared. They have had two weeks to prepare for us so we are expecting them to throw everything at us. I think it is two good teams matching up. It should be quite a day.”
McLean said his team has been operating a heavy run offense this season but have receivers who can make plays such as Tate Dalpe and Aidan Spurr. He said Connor Coutinho, their fullback, has been a key part of their offense opening up running lanes for Morin and handling the ball in short-yardage situations.
“We just need to stay healthy because we don’t have a lot of depth,” he said. “Being the better team up front at the line of scrimmage is the biggest thing for us. I talk about all these skill players but the only reason they are able to do what they do is because we got some great player up front doing their job. We have some senior leaders on the line who have led the way but also some young guys who are getting time, we have been relying on, and we have seen them get better and better. If we take care of business up front we should have a good day.”