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Saturday, November 21, 2015

Vito Capizzo Stadium, Nantucket, MA


Vineyard Brings Home the Cup

By Alex Elvin

Vineyard Gazette

Trophy in tow, the Vineyarders were greeted at ferry with fire trucks and cheering crowd. - Mark Lovewell

Self-discipline and calm under pressure paid off Saturday when the Vineyarders emerged victorious over Nantucket for the twelfth time in a row in the storied Island Cup rivalry.

Whalers and Vineyarders well well-matched in annual rivalry game. —Maria Thibodeau

The 7-0 final score was decided early in the game by Vineyard running back Ben Clark’s touchdown and tight end James Sashin’s extra point. Despite strong drives by both teams throughout the game and a missed field goal attempt by the Vineyard, by late afternoon at the Vito Capizzo field on Nantucket, the shutout for the Vineyard was preserved. And Coach Donald Herman, who is retiring after 28 years, racked up one final win.

Before the game the legendary Vineyard coach took the field with his wife Pam, daughter Gail, son Eric and daughter in-law Yasmin and to receive a commendation from State Rep. Tim Madden for his accomplishments through the years. Those include an overall 220-90, and five state Super Bowl victories. Saturday’s game was his last.

The long-running Island rivalry was evident from the start when the Whalers charged the field and planted three large flags — including a U.S. flag and a pirate flag — near the end zone where the Vinyarders were warming up. Coach Herman and his assistants rushed across the field and put themselves between the two teams to diffuse the situation.

Vineyarders celebrate after Elijah Matthews' interception seals the win. — Maria Thibodeau

Then just after 1:30 p.m. the Whalers won the coin toss and kicked off under a clear blue sky. A large U.S. flag hoisted on the ladder of a Nantucket fire engine snapped in a steady northeast wind. The bleachers at the high school field were filled near to capacity.

Ben Clark was the standout of the day with his first quarter touchdown, taking advantage of Nantucket’s setback early in the quarter from a string of personal fouls. The Vineyard received only two penalties during the game.

Vineyard running back Jacob Cardoza gained significant yardage during the game but was unable to score; one advance into the end zone was negated by a holding foul early in the fourth quarter.

The Vineyard’s only field goal attempt came at the end of the second quarter but sailed just downwind of the left goal post. But each team put up a strong fight.

Island Cup winners once again. —Maria Thibodeau

“The overall effort by both sides was amazing,” assistant coach Tom Keller said after the game. “It’s amazing to me how much they get excited and care. It could have backfired and gotten crazy. . . . Mostly I’ll say it was a clean game.”

Both teams pushed hard in the second half, eager to break the narrow lead. In the final quarter, the Vineyarders inched their way downfield to the 12-yard line, only to be pushed back to the 39-yard line on the other side. With 19 seconds left in the game, the Whalers had the ball, but Vineyarder Elijah Matthews intercepted a pass to regain possession. The Vineyarders were at the 15-yard line when the clock ran out and it was their team’s turn to rush the field.

After congratulations, Coach Herman braced himself for the obligatory water-cooler dump and continued celebrating in the crisp November air. Some fans held enormous cardboard cutouts of his face which bobbed around on the field.

“One hell of a game,” the veteran coach said to his team, which had gathered on the turf with their trophy, surrounded by friends, family and mentors. “You guys played your asses off.”

After one final cheer, teammates and others lingered on the field to savor the win.

A hero's welcome. — Mark Lovewell

“Going into this game we always know it’s going to be chippy,” said Cardoza. Prior to the game, he said, the coach’s advice was simply to “play your hardest and be disciplined. And that’s what we did, and we came out with only one personal foul.”

On the return ferry to the Vineyard, Coach Herman and the team were greeted by applause and cheering when they appeared on the passenger deck. With his family, students and friends, he enjoyed one last trip as head coach aboard the ferry. It was his 27th Island Cup.

As the ferry approached Vineyard Haven, the vehicle deck filled with cheering and honking. Per tradition, a large crowd gathered at the dock to welcome the team home. Fire trucks, rescue vehicles and police cars from around the Island blared sirens and flashed lights when the team emerged from the ferry in their purple varsity jackets, trophy held high.


Game 10 (Friday, November 13, 2015)





Vineyard football team beats Norwell 28-14


By Nelson Sigelman


The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School varsity football team defeated Norwell 28-14 at Norwell High School on Friday night in the team’s last game before the Island Cup on Saturday, Nov. 21 on Nantucket.


Senior Jacob Cardoza scored two touchdowns, and senior Ben Clark and sophomore Zach Moreis each scored one. Senior Austin Chandler had a 2 point conversion rush, and junior James Sashin scored two extra points.


The team totaled 386 yards of offense, with 375 of those rushing. “It was a very good win, the fact that we’re able to stay healthy is great,” Coach Don Herman said.


“Defensively, we played very well,” he said. Norwell’s touchdowns came on the third play of the game, and after a fumble recovery in the second quarter.


“We’re excited,” Coach Herman said. “One more big one.”

Game 9 (Friday, November 6, 2015)





By Cape Cod Times

Ben Clark scored a pair of touchdowns and the Vineyarders defense blanked the Vikings in the final home game for head coach Donald Herman in Oak Bluffs.

Clark, a senior, ran in identical 1-yard touchdown scores in the second and third quarters to help Martha’s Vineyard improve to 5-4 in Herman’s 27th and final season with the Vineyarders. The Vineyard squad travels to Norwell next Friday for their final non-playoff game before traveling to Nantucket the following Friday for the Annual Island Cup.

Senior Jacob Cardoza got Herman and his Vineyard squad going with a 4-yard touchdown run in the opening quarter. Senior Austin Chandler added a two-point conversion rush after Clark’s first score as Martha’s Vineyard led 14-0 at halftime.

Senior Andy DiMattia and junior Luke DeBettencourt led the defense in the shutout with 10 tackles each, with DiMattia coming away with a quarterback sack.

Cardoza added a pair of interceptions on the game while running for 70 yards on offense.

Game 8 (Friday, October 30, 2015)





By Cape Cod Times

FAIRHAVEN - After putting up 95 points in their last two games at home, Fairhaven struggled out of the gate against Martha’s Vineyard and fell 26-18 on Friday.

The Vineyarders (4-4) stifled the Blue Devils offense and kept them off the board until the early in the third quarter. The defense kept Fairhaven from completing a first down until the closing seconds of the first half. Between and iron curtain of a defense, and a strong run game, Martha’s Vineyard built a 20-0 lead going into the half.

On the third play of the game, Jacob Cardoza was able to pick off Ian Furtado and left the Vineyarders starting out on Fairhaven’s 38 yard line. Seven running plays later, Cardoza found the back of the end zone on a six yard run.

Martha’s Vineyard was able to pound the ball into the end zone again, focusing on the running game on a 9 play drive that overcame a holding penalty and covered 61 yards. Cardoza capped the drive off with a one yard touchdown run to close out the first quarter with six seconds remaining.

“I really enjoyed the first half,” Martha’s Vineyard Head Coach Donald Herman said. “We had position and we were in total control.”

Fairhaven broke through in the third quarter, and didn’t slow down. After being forced to punt, Tyler Mello picked up the fumble by Martha’s Vineyard and returned it for a 62 yard touchdown, and that got the Blue Devils into the game. On the following two Martha’s Vineyard possession, the Blue Devils forced two more fumbles which resulted in another Fairhaven touchdown by Ian Furtado on a 3 yard quarterback sneak with 1:57 remaining in the third quarter. Heading into the fourth Fairhaven trailed 20-12.

Fairhaven was able to score with 7:48 left in the fourth quarter and brought the score to 20-18, with Ian Furtado leading the way going 5-for-7 passing, including a 12 yard touchdown reception by John Bulgar.

Any hopes of a dramatic second half comeback, were quickly put to rest with a 95 yard kickoff return by Cardoza.

“Then everything was going against us, and we were going against the tide. We made a big play when we really needed to,” Herman said. “That was huge. You have adversity, you have to find a way to overcome it and we did. This was a good win for us. That is something we can address and be fixed.”


Game 7 (Friday, October 23, 2015)





By Cape Cod Times

Kyle Crombie ran in a pair of scores to lead the Raiders over the Vineyarders at Hanson Memorial Field in Somerset.

Crombie’s runs of 20 and 26 yards in the third and fourth quarters helped Somerset Berkley improve to 4-2, 3-1 in the Eastern Athletic Conference.

Senior Austin Chandler hauled in a 10-yard pass from junior quarterback Tucker McNeely in the fourth quarter to close Martha’s Vineyard (3-4, 1-3 EAC) to within 20-10. Junior James Sashin knocked home the extra-point after hitting for a 32-yard field goal in the second quarter to cut the Raiders’ lead to 6-3.

Senior Jacob Cardoza ran for 81 yards on 13 carries. Senior Ben Clark had 12 tackles on defense.

Nate Holt’s 12-yard touchdown run gave the Raiders a 6-0 lead in the opening quarter.



Game 6 (Friday, October 16, 2015)





Vineyard rolls over Brighton Bengals, 49-6, in homecoming celebration

Story by Jackson Waite

Photos by Sam Moore


At Daniel G. McCarthy Field in Oak Bluffs Friday night, Donald Herman, the Island’s mustachioed Hall of Fame coach, stepped onto his field before a packed homecoming crowd that was there to send off their coach in what might have been his last home-field appearance in a 28-year career that included eight Massachusetts Super Bowl appearances, five Super Bowl wins, two perfect seasons, and the graduations of three generations of gritty and proud Martha’s Vineyard men.


His team responded, and ended a two-game losing streak Friday night with a 49-6 rout of the Brighton High School Bengals in MIAA interconference play.


The scoreboard tells the story. Photo by Sam Moore.

Expectations for Friday night’s game were low. To many, the season was over. But Friday night’s homecoming game against Brighton High School provided an opportunity for the community to show up for the coach who had dedicated a large chunk of his life to showing up for them.


At kickoff the team, which only days before had been told by Coach Herman they were not working hard enough, was boiling inside, and was ready to send a message to the rest of the Eastern Athletic Conference that Martha’s Vineyard would not go quietly into the night.


Sitting in the stands, team captain Ted DeBettencourt (’02) spoke approvingly of Coach Herman and his straight talk to the team days earlier.


“Coach knows how to read kids,” he said. “He knows what motivates them.”


Captain Glenn Gaskell (’03), a center on the 2002 Mayflower Championship team, added, “Yeah, it’s how he motivates.”


Nodding in agreement, Mr. DeBettencourt explained his own experience with Herman motivation: After being kicked off the team his sophomore year for breaking team rules, he returned as a junior and went on to earn a spot as a captain his senior year. Before heading over to the rest of the seated alumni, he flashed his two championship rings and grinned with purple pride.


Opening-drive score

Just back from a team-imposed suspension, Jacob Cardoza received the ball to start off, but a broken flea-flicker play from junior James Sashin sailed over the senior tailback’s head by 10 yards. Coach Herman gritted his teeth in frustration and gave Cardoza the ball again. This time a hole opened up, and he broke out for an 11-yard gain and a first down to keep the drive alive. Forty yards later, Cardoza again popped outside for 17 yards to set up senior fullback Ben Clark on the Bengal one-yard line. And in just under 3:30, Clark punched in a definitive opening-drive touchdown.


Ten seconds into the second quarter, the homecoming crowd erupted when Jacob Cardoza broke out for another 20-yard run into the end zone. The scoreboard quickly flickered to 15-0 with the first of James Sashin’s five extra points. Three more touchdowns would come in quick succession — two from Ben Clark and another from senior Austin Chandler — as the Vineyard tallied a 36-6 lead. Coach Herman couldn’t have looked more pleased. Asked what his game plan was for the second half, he smiled the length of the field and said, “Some more of the first!”


Following a halftime tribute to Coach Herman orchestrated by the MV Touchdown Club, the team got back to work.


The Bengals tried to muster some momentum coming out of the half, but an early touchdown from senior back Curtis Farrell, who ended the game averaging 12.4 yards on seven carries, took the final fight out of the orange and black. The defense didn’t waver for a single play, held the Bengals to only 133 yards and seven first downs, and capped off the shutdown performance with a late third-quarter interception by junior defensive back Ennis Foster. The Vineyard show was punctuated by a one-yard touchdown from senior running back Justin Donahue, who finished the day with 41 yards on 10 carries.

The Vineyarders offense on the move. — Photo by Sam Moore


By the end of the game, the Vineyard had stitched together a whopping 459 yards of total offense. Jacob Cardoza finished with 91 yards on the ground, Ben Clark amassed 72 total yards from the fullback position, and the leading rusher for the day, Austin Chandler, put up 109 yards, leaving senior quarterback Tucker McNeely with only one thing left to do: Take a knee.



The final score was 49-6, and the Vineyard’s playoff hopes are still alive as they begin preparations for Friday’s road trip to their final conference game against Somerset Berkley. A win next Friday with a loss from Bishop Stang could mean that Coach Herman’s retirement will have to wait just a little bit longer.


Game 5 (Friday, October 9, 2015)






Game 4 (Sunday, October 4, 2015)





Vineyard loses 3-0 to rivals Bishop Feehan on a field goal

Story and Photos by Ralf Stewart


Bishop Feehan beat the Martha’s Vineyard varsity football team 3-0 Sunday afternoon in an Eastern Athletic Conference (EAC) football game postponed from Friday night due to weather. Both defenses played outstanding games, and kept the opposing offenses frustrated while at the same time forcing turnovers and punts.

Jacob Cardoza looks for some running room as btothers Jimmy and Andy DiMattia clear a path. — Photo by Ralph Stewart


The Vineyard struggled on offense, and was held without a first down until 5:30 left in the second quarter. Bishop Feehan had some early success with its running game, but the Vineyard defense stayed strong and refused to give up a big play.


Late in the first half, Feehan’s Joshua Cayer kicked what would prove to be the game-winning 26-yard field goal. Not that the Vineyarders did not have a chance to go ahead: With 2:20 left in the fourth quarter, Zach Moreis tackled Feehan quarterback Matthew Everton and forced a fumble, giving Martha’s Vineyard the ball near midfield. Feehan quickly took the ball back, though, when Benjamin Goslin stepped in front of Jacob Cardoza to intercept a pass. The Shamrocks then got a first down and ran out the clock, ending the game.

Zach Moreis tackles Bishop Feehan QB Matthew Everton, jarring the ball loose. The Vineyarders recovered the fumble to set up one final drive. – Photo by Ralph Stewart


Linebacker Austin Chandler, in his first game back from injury, led the stellar Vineyard defense with 15 tackles. Ben Clark and Zach Moreis each recovered a fumble, while Jacob Cardoza nabbed an interception.


The Vineyard is now 2-2 overall, and 1-1 in the EAC. They play next at Bishop Stang on Friday night.



Game 3 (Friday, September 25, 2015)





Vineyarders beat Coyle and Cassidy, 28-21 under Friday night lights

Story by Jack Shea

Photos by Michael Cummo


The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) football team advanced to 2-1 on the 2015 season with a 28-21 victory over Coyle Cassidy High School in an Eastern Athletic Conference (EAC) tilt Friday night at Dan McCarthy Field in Oak Bluffs.


The Vineyarders offense was led by two touchdown runs from senior captain Ben Clark, another from senior standout Curtis Farrell. A blocked punt by sophomore Zach Moreis was returned for a touchdown by junior defensive standout Elijah Matthews in an exciting game featuring outstanding athletic plays from both teams. James Sashin converted four point-after touchdown kicks for the Vineyarders.


Offensively, The Vineyarders were led by Jacob Cardoza’s 167 rushing yards. Ben Clark contributed TD runs of 7 and 18 yards, the last on an intelligently-played change of direction run and a 43-yard bolt by Curtis Farrell. The Vineyarders also had two TDs, including a 50-yard pass play, called back for penalties.


Senior quarterback Tucker McNeely was 4 for 9 passing for 55 yards, including three completions in key situations to Jacob Cardoza, Ben Clark and junior wideout James Sashin.  


In their third game of the season, the Vineyarders revealed themselves to be extraordinarily talented on offense, defense and on special teams/kicking. However a propensity to turn the ball over and to incur unnecessary penalties at critical times occasioned much head-holding in the stands.


A game that could have been a runaway win became a nail-biter as the result of several Vineyarders turnovers and unnecessary penalties.That the Vineyarders were able to overcome their mistakes against a solid Coyle Cassidy team team, unlike their season opener 20-15 loss to Carver High School, indicates that the team is jelling around its talent and will be a force in the EAC.


As an example, Jacob Cardoza had more than 100 all-purpose yards by halftime and the team has been without his tandem running back Austin Chandler, who returns this week from injury.


“We have to be more disciplined,” Vineyarders coach Don Herman said on Monday. “We could be 3-0 but we’re not. This week we face Bishop Feehan, a senior dominant team and probably the top team we’ll face all year.”


The coach said he would emphasize disciplined play this week to reduce personal foul penalties, but he noted that facemask penalties incurred Friday night were the result of reaching for the ball carrier, rather than personal fouls.


The evening began with the singing of the national anthem by senior Darby Patterson, a member of the Minnesinger chorus, and a tribute to 2009 MVRHS graduate and U.S. Marine Ben Ferry.


The Vineyarders began the night with stout defense forcing a three and out. After the Vineyarders' offense stalled, Coyle Cassidy moved down the field before stopped on fourth and one in the red zone, courtesy of a Lucas DeBettencourt tackle.


At this point, both teams realized that running  the middle wasn’t working and Curtis Farrell scored on the Vineyarders' next possession on a 43-yard sweep. Coyle Cassidy mounted an attack, including a pass completion to Gronk-esque tight end Hunter Jones before a fumble recovery gave the ball back to the Vineyarders.


The offense stalled after a holding penalty called back a Jacob Cardoza score, then a red zone fumble gave the ball back to Coyle Cassidy at their nine-yard line before Zack Moreis blocked the punt, leading to Elijah Matthew’s scoop and score and a 14-0 lead with 6:19 left in the half.


Coyle Cassidy was stopped in Vineyarders territory but a facemask penalty gave the Coyle Cassidy a first down at the Vineyarders 29, from which the visitors scored on a sweep by speedy back Connor Rodriguez to cut the margin to 14-7.


The Vineyarders fumbled on their next possession and Coyle Cassidy scored on a 25-yard TD pass to Hunter Jones. The score was 14-14 just before halftime.


Coyle Cassidy stalled in its second half opening drive and Zack Moreis blocked his second punt, giving the Vineyarders the ball at Coyle Cassidy’s 24 yard line, leading to Ben Clark’s savvy 18-yard scoring run for a 21-14 lead.

The Martha's Vineyard defense works together to tackle Coyle receiver Alex Grande. — Photo by Michael Cummo


Ben Clark would add his second touchdown for a 28-14 lead with 3:08 left in the third. The Vineyarders lost a 55-yard passing TD to penalty and surrendered a late TD pass to Hunter Jones, aided by a personal foul penalty, with 4:45 left. Elijah Matthews intercepted a pass deep in Vineyarders territory to seal the win.


In addition to offensive proficiency, the Vineyarders defense, with two interceptions by Elijah Matthews and Ennis Foster and prodigious sacks from Lucas DeBettencourt and James Sashin, showed  great promise for Mr Herman’s final season at the helm.


“I like this team. We’re thin (in depth) but we’re talented,” Mr. Herman said.



Game 2 (Friday, September 18, 2015)





By Wesley Sykes
Cape Cod Times
Contributing Writer 
Posted Sep 18, 2015


BOURNE -- After a tough five-point loss at home against Carver to open the season, Martha’s Vineyard head coach Donald Herman said his team learned that a great week of practice translates to a great outcome on game days.

The Vineyarders reaped the benefits of their great practices by dominating in all three facets of the game, defeating Bourne 48-18 at Jackson Field on Friday evening.


“I think we rebounded really well after last week. Had we played half as well last week as we did last night we’d be 2-0,” Herman said.

Bourne dropped to 1-1 with the loss.


Martha’s Vineyard (1-1) played well behind senior quarterback Tucker McNeely’s (5-for-5 for 75 yards) perfect passing day. He found junior tight end James Sashin for a five-yard touchdown for the first score of the game, capping a nine-play, 64-yard drive that lasted more than four minutes.


Equipped with only 40 varsity players at his disposal, Herman was able to share the ball and keep many of his skill position players happy as five different players found the end zone for M-V.


Senior running back Jacob Cardoza tallied 86 total yards with a score as well as a 30-yard leaping catch in the first quarter that Herman said was “ESPN Top-10 worthy.” He even grabbed an interception on defense to thwart the Canalmen’s opening drive in the second half. Fellow senior running back Ben Clark bruised and battered his way for 41 total yards and two touchdowns.


Sophomore wideout/quarterback Zach Moreis may be small in stature (5-foot-6, 162 pounds), but he came up in a big way for M-V, running for two touchdowns in the second half, including a 44-yard quarterback keeper that made it 48-7 early in the fourth quarter.


Herman credited the big guys up front for their win. The starting offensive line combines for an average height and weight of 6-foot-1 and 241 pounds.

“Whoever controls the line of scrimmage is going to control the game,” he said.



Game 1 (Friday, September 11, 2015)






The Carver High School Crusaders pounced on four first half Vineyarder turnovers and defeated the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School football team 20-15 in the season opener for both squads Friday night at a half-filled Dan McCarthy field in Oak Bluffs.

All the scoring happened in the first half. Ben Clark’s 54-yard run and a Curtis Farrell 30-yard TD reception from Vineyard quarterback Tucker McNeely shaved the Crusader lead to five points at halftime.

The Vineyarders played without key defender Lucas DeBettencourt in the second half and two-way starter Austin Chandler missed the tilt with a knee injury suffered in a pre-season scrimmage this week.

Vineyard Football Alumni involved in College Football:

Redshirt Junior Delmont Araujo is playing fullback/linebacker for Southern Connecticut State University.

Redshirt Senior Randall Jette is a four year starting cornerback for Div. 1 University of Massachusetts. He has been named to the Preseason All MAC 1st Team, and preseason watch list for the Jim Thorpe Award (Nations to DB).


Bishop Feehan

High School


Bishop Stang

High School


Coyle & Cassidy

High School


Martha's Vineyard

Regional High School


Somerset Berkley Regional High School


2015 Eastern Athletic Conference

Bishop Stang**



Martha's Vineyard



Somerset Berkley*



Bishop Feehan*



Coyle & Cassidy



*Qualified for MIAA D3 Playoffs (eliminated R1)

**Qualified for MIAA D5 Playoffs (eliminated R1)


 2015 Island Cup   

Martha's Vineyard (7-4)


Nantucket (8-3) 0

updated 11/24/15 7:40Am

*MIAA Playoffs (click here for info)


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