Vineland-Millville rivalry: Ripped from the Headlines

Vineland-Millville rivalry: Ripped from the Headlines


Vineland-Millville rivalry: Ripped from the Headlines


The Vineland-Millville high school football rivalry kicked off 120 years ago with the Thunderbolts scoring a 14-0 triumph over the Fighting Clan.

Vineland has since taken the edge, leading the series 63-59-19, but Millville has controlled years ending in 3 with a 9-6 record. That includes five wins in the past six years that end with a 3, including a 6-0 triumph over the Fighting Clan in Vineland’s lone winning campaign of the past 21 years (2003).

Defense has been a consistent theme during “3” years, as the two squads only cracked double digits once in the same game (1993; 15-14).

Relive some of the classic showdowns in this historic rivalry that took place in years ending in “3” via historical clippings from the Evening Journal, Evening Times, Vineland Times Journal and The Daily Journal.


Millville 14, Vineland 0


Millville 5, Vineland 4

Millville 5, Vineland 0

Vineland 11, Millville 5


Vineland 13, Millville 0

Vineland 7, Millville 0


Millville 12, Vineland 0

Picking out the Vineland men in every scrimmage, tearing around the ends and tackling hard while on the defensive, Millville High defeated VHS at a score of 12-0 in Millville yesterday.

True, Vineland put a crippled team out on the field, but Millville played a game far superior to any that they ever before played against Vineland, and had Vineland’s best team been on the field the score would probably not have been much different.

Millville’s men were heavy and kept right on going after being tackled. Vineland did put up a remarkable defense however when they blocked line plunge after line plunge. It was no easy job though to hold back a team heavier in line charges, but the Vineland boys showed wonderful spirit and, under the conditions, played a remarkably fine game.

Evening Journal

Nov. 10, 1923


Vineland 13, Millville 0

A determined Vineland High eleven, after being balked for three quarters, smashed its way to a brace of touchdowns to gain a 13-0 victory over Millville High’s Orange and Blue-clad warriors, in the annual Thanksgiving Day classic.

The battle, held on Millville Municipal Field, before a crowd of 6,000 that jammed every available inch on the field, was one of the most thrilling gridiron contests viewed by Red and Gray followers.

The crowd is believed to be a record one for the annual clash between the two rival elevens. So great was the mob that a special allowance of 10 yards had to be made to permit the players to proceed with the game when Vineland penetrated within the shadows of the Millville goal posts. In addition, every available niche for a distance of several blocks was packed with youths, some of them on tall, swaying poplar trees nearby.

Buddy Pagluighi, sensational backfield youth, scored the first touchdown by leaping over the final chalk line for one foot, after a drive of 50 yards. …

The second goal was the result of an aerial intercepted by (Pauly) Testa on Vineland’s 35-yard line. This brilliant performer carries the oval 24 yards on the play before he was downed by two adversaries.

On the next play, Pagluighi crashed right tackle for 8 yards, and then Dick Genther, freshman cover, dashed past seven opponents for a distance of 33 yards to tally the second touchdown. …

The hectic battle gave Vineland High the Cumberland county title, which they have won for at least six years back.

Bill Mulligan

Evening Times

Dec. 1, 1933


Vineland 22, Millville 7

The Red-Gray minions of Vineland High School ended their 1943 football season in a whirl of glory yesterday with a 22-7 victory over their ancient rivals, Millville High, at the latter’s stadium. Over 5,000 fans witnessed the contest. The victory gave Vineland the Cumberland County title and Group Four crown.

The minions of Coach Nello Dallolio were given a shock at the beginning of the game when the Orange and Blue clad warriors of Coach Leo McHale dashed 71 yards for the initial goal of the game and added the extra point to lead, 7-0.

However, on the opening play of the second quarter, Mike Grando skirted left guard and battered his way over the goal, with Tommy Wriggins evening the score with a neat placement kick.

In the same period, a bad pass from center to Ray Horsey gave Vineland a safety, when the ball went over Horsey’s head and rolled to the goal posts where Vineland players downed it.

The Poultry Clan added another goal in the third period in a drive from Millville’s 45-yard marker. Grando dashed four yards to score and Wriggins again place-kicked an extra point.

In the final quarter … Grando tossed another of his accurate aerials to Wriggins in the end zone, the latter leaping high into the air to juggle it while Millville players attempted to down it. Wriggins held on to the ball as he fell to earth in a sensational catch and again rifled a place-kick between the bars to end the scoring.

Vineland Times Journal

Nov. 26, 1943


Millville 35, Vineland 7

Millville High, displaying its versatility and fight, rolled relentlessly over Vineland High’s undermanned grid squad to score a 35-7 victory and annex the Cumberland County title before 6,500 screaming fans at Wheaton Field, Millville.

It was the 14th straight victory for Millville and gave the Thunderbolts their first undefeated season in more than two decades.

For Vineland it was a day of frustration as the Red and Gray dropped its fifth game of the season and went down to its seventh straight defeat at the hands of the Thunderbolts. Only Jay Luisi’s electrifying 90 yard kickoff return for a Vineland touchdown saved the Poultry Clan from a whitewashing.

The Millville scoring was split between four players with Claude McNear, the Woodbine flash, collecting two, and Ken Wilson, Leon Horin and Mike Lascarides getting the other three. Ed Brecht booted five perfect placements after touchdowns to round out the scoring.

Tom Flynn

Vineland Times Journal

Nov. 27, 1953


Millville 13, Vineland 6

Millville High School’s Thunderbolts rode the strong right arm of junior quarterback Rich Panczy to a 13-6 victory over visiting Vineland before a crowd of 7,500 in the 69th renewal of South Jersey’s oldest high school grid rivalry yesterday afternoon.

The key play, a seven yard pass completed with 5:45 remaining in the game, was indicative of the way things went for the ‘Bolts this Turkey Day. Panczy pitched over the middle of the line to fullback Hank Fien, who pulled in the tie-breaker after Poultry Clansmen Tom Pedulla and Jim Alvino had hit the ball in vain attempts to break up the play.

Panczy and the glue-fingered Fien, his favorite receiver, ruined Vineland with a strong aerial attack that gained 171 yards. Panczy set up the first TD, which he carried over from the one, by passing twice to Fien for 38 and 19 yards.

The loss left Vineland with a 3-5-1 log and without the Cumberland County championship, which it could have won by gaining a victory yesterday. Each of the county teams captured one triumph this season.

Bob Wright

Vineland Times Journal

Nov. 29, 1963


Millville 18, Vineland 7

MILLVILLE – Vineland High School’s hopes of capturing the Cumberland County title and salvaging some success from a disappointing season were dashed at Wheaton Field here yesterday as Millville High roared to an 18-7 victory.

The 79th annual Thanksgiving Day classic confrontation between these two schools was witnessed by more than 8,000 fans who jammed the Holly City’s stadium under sunny skies and balmy temperatures. …

Winning coach Tony Surace was understandably elated with the victory, although a brawl near the end of the contest dampened the post-game jubilation. …

The melee was allegedly the result of a Vineland player unnecessarily bowling over a Millville player. The T-Bolt team member then responded by punching the VHS man, and the resulting imbroglio saw both benches empty.

Fortunately, order was restored within several minutes, by coaches, local police officers and K-9 deputies of the County sheriffs department. …

After a see-saw battle in the first period and almost all of the second, Millville took the lead for keeps at 12-7 when Tim Shannon intercepted a Reed Nelson pass and raced 59 yards to paydirt.

It was Shannon’s seventh interception of the season, tying a school record. He later eclipsed that mark when he grabbed and underthrown option pass from Sam Gassel to put the finishing touches on Millvile’s victory.

John Sbrana

Vineland Times Journal

Nov. 23, 1973


Vineland 6, Millville 0

MILLVILLE – Led by its defense and a gutsy young quarterback, a new king emerged here Thursday to rule Cumberland County football.

Vineland High School, playing at what coach John Pierantozzi termed “our emotional peak off the year,” shut down Millville’s offense at rain-swept Wheaton Field and defeated the Thunderbolts, 6-0, to win its first County title in four years.

The victory — Vineland’s fourth straight this season and seventh overall in nine games — ended Millville’s three-year reign as County champion and dropped the Thunderbolts to 6-3.

Typically, the hitting was ferocious, as it always is in this traditional Thanksgiving Day meeting, which dates back to (1983).

But, from the outset yesterday Vineland’s defense held the initiative. In fact, the Clan allowed Millville to cross midfield into its territory only once throughout the entire game, played before an estimated crowd of 2,000.

Ironically, it was that one Millville drive, late in the third period, which proved to be the Thunderbolts’ undoing. They turned the ball over on a fumble at the Vineland 33, setting the stage for the game’s only score — a three-yard run by Al Brown, culminating a Clan march of 67 yards in 12 plays.

Dave McDonald

Vineland Times Journal

Nov. 25, 1983


Millville 15, Vineland 14

MILLVILLE – Forget about the trick plays. Pay no attention to the long touchdown passes or that nifty interception return.

The Millville High Thunderbolts needed an old-fashioned defensive stand in the fourth quarter to defeat the Vineland Fighting Clan, 15-14, Thursday before about 1,500 fans in the nation’s second-longest high school football rivalry.

“We were more than excited; we were relieved,” said Millville coach Tony Surace, whose team trails in the series, 57-51-20.

After some razzle-dazzle, some frames from a highlight film, some hard hits and a concussion, the area’s biggest game of the year came down to one series. Actually, it was two.

Trailing 15-14, the Clan started its most impressive drive in the waning seconds of the third quarter. Vineland took the ball from its own 16 and pounded it down the middle of the line. …

A Clan victory appeared imminent. The series continued like a dentist’s drill; the banging seemed painfully incessant like a sculptor forging a bust from a stone.

But Millville’s defense didn’t bust. …

The scene set itself: Vineland faced a third and 1 from Millville’s 6. (Spencer) Barriento hit the line. THUD! Five grunts, no yards. …

Barriento tried again. THUD! Four Millville defenders, no yards.

Ken Hitchner

The Daily Journal

Nov. 26, 1993


Millville 6, Vineland 0

MILLVILLE – It’s hard to tell exactly where the Millville High School football team got its inspiration for Thursday morning’s annual Thanksgiving Day clash with Vineland.

It might have come Wednesday night at the team’s annual goodbye dinner, where a selected few players and coaches stand on a proverbial soapbox and preach good tidings about the season that was.

It could have come from head coach Dave Heck, who reminds his players before each game that they’re playing not only for themselves, but for everyone who ever has worn Orange and Blue.

Maybe it came from line coach Jeff Trout, who told his players that every time they stopped one of Vineland’s patented big-play attempts, they would be one step closer to victory.

Or, maybe the inspiration came from the players themselves. They were, after all, the ones who turned in a gut-wrenching defensive effort against one of the Cape-Atlantic League’s most explosive teams, shutting them down three times inside the 20-yard line and holding on for a 6-0 win in front of at least 5,000 spectators at John Barbose Stadium at Wheaton Field. …

(Senior defensive end Dwayne) Hendricks, a 6-foot-4, 250-pound monster, played every bit like the major-college prospect he is. His constant penetration and pursuit kept Vineland quarterback Alex Castillo on his toes all morning and also forced an interception late in the third quarter that set up the only touchdown of the game, a 7-yard hookup from quarterback Kyle Gandy to flanker Tiquan Johnson in the corner of the end zone late in the third quarter.

Geoff Dodd

The Daily Journal

Nov. 28, 2003


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