A look at Vineland/Millville football through the years

A look at Vineland/Millville football through the years

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A look at Vineland/Millville football through the years

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The Millville High School football team is a heavy favorite entering its Thanksgiving morning showdown with Vineland.

However, history says the 141st meeting between the cross-county rivals may be closer than anticipated.

In the last five clashes in years ending in “2,” the outcome has been decided by a single score. That includes a showdown 10 years ago where the Fighting Clan, behind superstar tailback Darren Ford, ended a 10-game losing streak to the Thunderbolts. Millville has won the last three meetings against Vineland.

The Thunderbolts had won the previous two “2” clashes, but the Fighting Clan hold a slight 7-5 edge in the “2” years.

Read about some of the classic showdowns between these two programs that took place in years ending in “2” via historical clippings from the Evening Journal, Evening Times, Vineland Times Journal and The Daily Journal.

1902

Vineland 10, Millville 6

1912

Millville 19, Vineland 0
Vineland 13, Millville 0

1922

Vineland 33, Millville 6

Vineland walked over Millville in a football game yesterday by a score of 33-6, and before the greatest crowd that ever witnessed a contest of its kind in Landis Park. The bleachers were filled with cheering students and the grandstand packed to its utmost capacity.

Millville kicked off, but it was a matter of but a few minutes before Lewis and DiEmma had brought the ball close enough to Millville’s goal for Nevario to plunge through for the first touchdown. Lewis then kicked and made the score 7-0.

Again Nevario smashed through Millville’s line and at the end of the first half the score was 13-0.

At the beginning of the second half Vineland kicked off and before the ball had been in play three minutes, DiEmma caught a kick, made a wonderful run of 55 yards and fought his way through a three-man interference to the goal line.

Pearson made a brilliant pick-up and the fourth goal was made was made by him. Lewis kicked successfully both times.

Evening Journal

Nov. 18, 1922

1932

Vineland 19, Millville 7

Before a cheering, orderly throng of 6,000, the Vineland High cohorts battled their way to a 19-7 victory over their county rivals, Millville High, in the annual Turkey Day contest held at Landis Park.

The victory was a fitting climax to the estimable services of Captain Vince Ferrara, Buddy Pagluighi, Walt Kirkjan and Howard Strothers, who have played their final grid contest for the Red and Gray. The four seniors will be graduated next June.

Ferrara played the entire game and led his cohorts onward even in the final minutes, when he and his confreres advanced the oval to within 4 yards of the goal.

The leader of the Poultry Clan scored the first touchdown in the initial period on a 72-yard advance against the visitors by smashing center for the needed half-yard. In addition he kicked the only extra point Vineland made.

The second and final Red and Gray score occurred in the third session. Buddy Pagluighi startled the opposition by dashing, unmolested, for 80 yards on the kickoff at the start of the second half. His teammates, in a perfect wedge formation, kept the enemy at bay.

Ferrara’s forward to the nimble fingered Al Curcio resulted in the next touchdown, while Vince shot a neat placement for the extra point.

Bill Mulligan

Evening Times

Nov. 25, 1932

1942

Vineland 33, Millville 0

Vineland High School’s comeback champs yesterday ended their 1942 campaign in a blaze of glory, burying Millville High School under a 33-0 score before a throng of 6,000 at Gittone Stadium.

Chalking up their fifth victory in succession, the Red and Gray athletes lost three touchdowns and several scoring threats through penalties — 130 yards worth, no less — and yet had enough left to pile over five touchdowns, as many players driving the touchdown laurels.

Vineland failed to score in the third period and picked up only one touchdown in the last, but it still was “no contest,” as Coach Nello Dallolio’s pupils marched up and down the gridiron almost at will. The statistics, 411 yards gained from scrimmage and 120 from passing, or a grand total of 531, tell the story.

A versatile backfield operated behind a big and rugged line and those two factors buried the Orange and Blue. Millville’s heralded passing attack clicked for only 41 yards and most of that in the vicinity of midfield, and the running attacks managed a net gain of only 16 yards against the Red and Gray forward wall.

The victory, coming on the heels of a 26-7 triumph over Bridgeton, clinched another county championship for the Red and Gray — No. 19 to Millville’s three and Bridgeton’s five. The triumph was also the fifth straight scored over Millville and 22nd over the Orange and Blue in a total of 32 games, Millville having won four and the remaining six having wound up in ties.

Mike Grando’s throwing arm — he heaved two touchdown passes that were good and another that was called back — the pass-catching of John Webb and Bert Gullock, Kenny Caterina’s hurry-up style of toting the mail, and the ball-carrying of Frankie Luisi and Tommy Wriggins on end-around plays were just a few of the ingredients which, boiled in the big pot, came out as 531 yards, running and passing.

Vineland Times Journal

Nov. 27, 1942

1952

Millville 16, Vineland 0

Millville High parlayed a pair of breakaway runners and a stubborn defense into a 16-0 victory over Vineland High in the annual Thanksgiving Day classic before 5,000 people in Gittone Stadium to regain the Cumberland County crown, which it lost last season to the third member of the conference, Bridgeton.

Ken Jargowski’s 24-yard sprint set up the first Millville score, which Pooch Noon scored a minute later, and Claude McNair’s 81-yard dash on a quick opener through the line gave Millville its two tallies in the first half.

Early in the fourth quarter, Ed Brecht added a 14-yard field goal for insurance points but Millville didn’t seriously threaten during the second half except for Brecht’s three-pointer.

Meanwhile, Vineland gained an edge in the statistical department and in the first half pushed the Bolts around considerably, but couldn’t offset the long runs of Jargowski and McNair. In the second half, the Vineland offense wasn’t as keen as it had been, but it still managed to keep the pressure on the winners.

Vineland Times Journal

Nov. 28, 1952

1962

Millville 7,
Vineland 6

The unpleasant aura of gloom was cast upon more than 6,000 Vineland football fans Saturday as they watched coach Chuck Panella’s gritty Millville Thunderbolts squeeze past the Poultry Clan, 7-6, and leave Gittone Stadium as undisputed champions of Cumberland County and the South Jersey Group IV Conference.

For the youthful Panella, in his first season as an area coach, and the Bolts, making their first attempt for conference laurels, the narrow victory capped a tremendous season. From a squad racked with dissension in the fall, the coach formed a cohesive unit with a startling offense and a granite defense capable of skipping by opponents eight times after dropping the 1962 opener.

Looking back on the 68th renewal of the classic grid encounter rescheduled from Thanksgiving, Coach Nello Dallolio’s Clansmen have the scant consolation of outgaining their rivals, 278 yards to 203, and realizing there is no shame in losing with a first-class effort.

The Clan, with a 1-1 county mark and a 3-3 log in the conference thus finished second to the Bolts in both races. (It’s) 5-4 overall record, while not constituting a poor season, falls far short of the predictions handicapped in September.

The game will be written in the records as a one-point victory for Millville. But the true difference was supplied neither by the booming placement of Gene Racz nor by the Don Urie (conversion) attempt that was smothered by the center of the Bolts line.

The difference was spawned by two sustained Vineland drives, which were stymied scant feet shy of the end zone and glory.

Steve Pogust

Vineland Times Journal

Nov. 26, 1962

1972

Vineland 6,
Millville 0

All year long, it has been Vineland High School’s defense that has drawn the crowd’s boos at Gittone Stadium.

Sure, the defense came up with some key plays that helped the Fighting Clansmen win close ball games, but most of the “boo-birds,” who nest at the local field felt that Vineland’s defense was simply worthless.

Those critics were probably among the throng of 8,000 wind-chilled fans who jammed Gittone Stadium yesterday morning, but you can safely bet they weren’t cutting loose any cat-calls.

Why? Because the sensitive players on Vineland’s much-maligned defense, who have been hurt by the jeers more than they would admit, turned in a sensational performance that shut out one of the highest scoring teams in South Jersey, and lifted Vineland to a pulse-pounding 6-0 victory over arch-rival Millville in the 78th meeting of these two teams.

The thrilling victory closes out Vineland High School’s most successful season since 1969 at 7-2 and 6-2 in the Southern Division of the Group IV league. It also gives Vineland a third-share of the coveted County Series title, and prevents Millville from clinching the title outright.

Earlier this season, Millville had clinched the league crown by defeating Mainland 30-7. The Bolts are also 7-2 overall but 6-1 in the league.

Few people knew it then, but Vineland’s 12-0 loss to lowly Absegami in the season opener prevented yesterday’s game from becoming a league, as well as County showdown.

But the players at Vineland High aren’t crying about the lost title. They’re too busy celebrating what may be the biggest victory scored by a Vineland team since the locals blocked a Bolt field goal in the final seconds of the 1970 game and won 14-12.

The Clan’s modified radar defense, which really bothered Millville, and the straight 6-3 alignment combined to hold the high-powered Bolts to only 108 yards on the ground and 65 through the airways. The Clansmen also intercepted three passes in key situations.

The defensive figures may sound like a lot of yards allowed, but considering Millville’s 24.5 points-per-game average this season, it’s nothing less than fantastic that the Red and Gray was able to turn back the visitors without a score.

A second-period Reed Nelson roll-out keeper for five yards and a touchdown accounted for all of the scoring in the game, but it was the Clan’s defense that wooed and finally won the hearts of the partisan crowd.

John Sbrana

Vineland Times Journal

Nov. 24, 1972

1982

Millville 16, Vineland 9

VINELAND – English settlers celebrated the first Thanksgiving some 360 years ago. Thursday, here at Gittone Stadium, it was Millville’s Jim Parent doing most of the celebrating.

Parent, a rock-hard 5-8, 157-pound senior running back, blasted through Vineland’s steel-trap defense for 62 yards, picking up key first downs along the way and leading the Thunderbolts to a come-from-behind 16-9 victory which, combined with Bridgeton’s 12-6 win over Cumberland, provided the Thunderbolts with their third consecutive Cumberland County championship.

“Jim Parent is a winner,” Millville coach Tony Surace said afterward. “The way you saw him today, fighting his heart out for every inch, is precisely the way he practices. I don’t remember ever coaching a young man who consistently gives the effort the way he does.

“And I’m not ashamed to admit that I shed some tears in the locker room before the game today knowing this would be his final high school game,” said Surace. “You don’t work three years with a young man like Jim and not be somewhat touched. He’s a winner, and so’s every kid on our team. To comeback against a good club like Vineland took a lot of poise and guts.”

The victory gives Millville a final record of 5-4 (6-3 counting the forfeit by Oakcrest), while Vineland dropped to 2-7. The Bolts ended in a six-way tie for first place as one of six division teams with final 5-3 division records.

“We’re not a 2-7 club,” said Vineland coach John Pierantozzi. “Had we capitalized on some of the opportunities we’ve had this season, who knows where we’d be. But we’re still young (only seven seniors who play graduate), and we definitely see light at the end of the tunnel.”

Dave McDonald

Vineland Times Journal

Nov. 26, 1982

1992

Millville 10, Vineland 8

VINELAND – Respect your opponent on Thanksgiving Day.

This time, Millville High’s football team didn’t forget the 93-year-old rule and held on to beat Vineland, 10-8, in front of 1,200 rain-soaked spectators at Gittone Memorial Stadium.

It was the 127th game in the state’s longest-running rivalry, which dates back to 1894. Vineland still holds a 57-50 series lead with 20 ties.

Last year, the favored Thunderbolts came out flat and were soundly beaten, 28-0. Millville coach Tony Surace didn’t let his players forget.

“I don’t think our kids respected Vineland enough last year,” Surace said. “The coaching staff did, but the players didn’t. Vineland played their best game of the season and beat us.

“We wanted to make sure we were ready for them to play their best game this year.”

And Vineland did. The Fighting Clan, which won just one of nine games this season, reduced its mistakes and played Millville (4-5) even in every facet of the game.

A 32-yard field goal by German exchange student Dennis Gossler with 3 minutes, 52 seconds left in the third quarter put the Thunderbolts in front for good.

Jim Cheesman

The Daily Journal

Nov. 27, 1992

2002

Vineland 26, Millville 20

VINELAND – Streak over.

For the first time in more than a decade, the Vineland High School football team walked off the field with their heads held high and proud smiles on every face.

Ending a 10-game losing streak against your arch-rival has such an effect.

Junior halfback Darren Ford scored three touchdowns, and the defense played its best game of the season, as Vineland defeated Millville, 26-20, before a packed house on a chilly Thanksgiving Day morning at Gittone Memorial Stadium.

It was the Red & Gray’s first victory over the Thunderbolts since 1991. Winning for the first time at home this season, Vineland finished 4-6, a four-game improvement over last season.

Vineland now leads the state’s longest-running gridiron rivalry 60-52-19.

“We never put our heads down. We never doubted ourselves,” senior linebacker Adam Bernardini said. “We’ve talked about this all year. We always knew this victory would be ours.”

While Ford was spectacular in a big-play kind of way, the Vineland defense was the real hero. Backed up in its own territory most of the day, the Fighting Clan ‘D’ stymied nearly every Thunderbolts threat.

Millville (2-8) scored three touchdowns, but Vineland’s defense was responsible for just one, and that was late in the game when the Clan held a two-touchdown lead and allowed the Bolts to drive against a soft, prevent zone.

Jason Carris

The Daily Journal

Nov. 29, 2002

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