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Game 11: (November 22, 2014)




Story By Russ Charpentier

Pictures by
Ron Schloerb

Nov. 23, 2014


OAK BLUFFS – A strong wind blew in a wintry cold to Oak Bluffs Saturday afternoon, but Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard provided plenty of heated action in the 68th meeting between the Island rivals.

MV claimed its 11th straight Island Cup win, using a pair of fourth-quarter Mike Mussell to Jacob Cardoza touchdown passes to claim a 21-7 victory before a large turnout.

The Vineyarders’ James Sashin was 3-for-3 in extra points in the extremely tough conditions created by the wind.

Nantucket still holds a 35-29-3 series advantage. MV leads 19-17 since the Island Cup became the prize.

The win was the fifth straight to close the season for Martha’s Vineyard, which finishes 6-5 after a 1-5 start.

Nantucket, under first-year coach Bryan Ryder, finished 8-3.

“This means the world,” said Mussell, the senior quarterback who missed last year’s rivalry game because of an injury. “I’ll soak it in tonight. I’ll cry myself to sleep. I’ll never be out here with my brothers again.”

It was a heated, physical contest controlled by the defenses – “It’s one of the best rivalries in the country for a reason,” said Mussell – at least until the Vineyard struck for its two fourth-quarter scores.

“I fully came here expecting we could beat this team,” Ryder said. “But we didn’t do it. They did a great job coaching and playing. What can I say?”

The cliché, “They left it on the field,” spoke volumes in this clash.

MV led 7-0 after a first half in which the teams combined for a mere 143 yards of offense in the tough conditions.

Vineyard fullback Ben Clark scored the TD from 2 yards out on the first play of the second quarter for the first half’s only score.

That capped a 65-yard, seven-play drive fueled by back to back, 15-yard face mask and personal foul penalties on Nantucket, two of seven infractions for 95 yards the Whalers had in the opening half.

Aside from the penalties, the big play was a 17-yard completion to Cardoza on a third-and-5 from the MV 40.

MV decided to go into the wind in the third quarter, Herman putting his defense on the spot.

Nantucket took the second-half kickoff and marched 70 yards in 11 running plays featuring sophomore Keenan Phillips after top runner Fervon Phillips limped off the field following a five-yard run to the MV 32.

Keenan Phillips carried it in from the 2 and Quinn Towne’s extra point tied the game with 6:07 left in the third.

Things got really dicey for the home team after MV fumbled the ball away at the Nantucket 46 on its ensuing drive, but its defense proved up to the challenge the rest of the way.

“We knew they were going to come out hard and furious,” Vineyard coach Donald Herman said. “They did a great job in the third quarter and smacked us in the mouth, had their drive of will. Our guys responded.”

The winning score came with 9:06 left when Mussell and Cardoza – the hero of last year’s Island Cup win – teamed up for an 11-yard scoring pass on a third-and-5 play. Mussell looked left, then threw back to the right to a wide-open Cardoza.

“We ran the play previously,” Mussell said. “Jacob and I have really good chemistry. We went over how he wasn’t covered and I threw incomplete to Ben.

“I ran over to coach and said, ‘Coach, third and long. Same play as first play. Jacob was open.’ Coach had confidence in me. I just looked the safety off and Jacob was open for the score.”

“They’ve been on the same wave length all season,” Herman said of Mussell and Cardoza. “It was great communication between them.”

The Vineyard forced a punt and it took MV just three plays to move 39 yards for the insurance score. On third-and-7 from the 36, Mussell hit Cardoza on a quick slant at the 25 and the junior did the rest.

“Teams had been covering Jacob on that all season,” Mussell said. “He had been able to beat the defender. It’s all him after that. He makes my stats look good but it’s all him.”

Nantucket’s Justin Halford was injured in the third quarter on a play that resulted in a lost fumble by the Vineyard.

There was a long delay as medical personnel attended to him, strapping him to a stretcher as an ambulance came out on the field. He waved his hand at the crowd and his teammates as he left.

Ryder said after the game he thought Halford would be all right.

The Vineyarders’ James Sashin was 3-for-3 in extra points in the extremely tough conditions created by the wind.

Austin Chandler led MV with 68 rushing yards on seven carries. Clark had 39 yards on 13 carries and Cardoza just 24 yards on 12 carries but caught three passes for 64 yards.

Mussell finished 5-of-9 for 104 yards, two TDs and an interception.

Fervon Phillips led Nantucket with 88 yards on 17 carries and Keenan Phillips gained 35 yards on 11 carries. He also had two receptions for 12 yards.







Scoring: MV–Ben Clark 2 run (James Sashin kick), N-Keenan Phillips 2 run (Quinn Towne kick), MV–Jacob Cardoza 11 pass from Mike Mussell (Sashin kick), MV–Cardoza 36 pass from Mussell (Sashin kick).



First downs;12;17

Yds rush;176;135

Yds pass;34;104

Total offense 210;239







Game 10: (November 14, 2014)




By Ralph Stewart


Martha’s Vineyard won its fourth consecutive varsity football game in convincing fashion by shutting out the Bellingham Blackhawks 28-0 Friday night at a chilly Dan McCarthy Field in Oak Bluffs.

The victory evened the Vineyard record at 5-5 and atoned for a 35-6 loss to Bellingham in the 2000 Eastern Mass Division 5 Super Bowl. In that game, the lone Vineyard highlight belonged to Travis Baptiste, who scored on the opening kickoff.

“The difference tonight was that we didn’t run the opening kickoff back for a touchdown,” Vineyard coach Donald Herman joked after the win. “We have a teacher [at MVRHS], Ryan Kent, who played on the 2000 Bellingham team and, of course he’s been thumping Bellingham and wore his jersey today. I told him if we don’t run the opening kickoff back for a touchdown we have a good chance to win.”

On this night, Bellingham received the opening kickoff and drove to the Vineyard 15 behind a bruising ground game, chewing up 8:57 of clock. The Vineyard defense refused to break, however, and forced a turnover on downs.

The Vineyarders responded with an 85 yard drive, capped off by a 12-yard touchdown pass from Mike Mussell to Ben Clark with 23 seconds left in the first quarter. James Sashin booted the extra point to put M.V. up 7-0.

Mike Mazza thwarted the Blackhawks next drive with a leaping interception. The Vineyarders drove deep into Bellingham territory but did not score.

The Purple doubled their lead with 1:30 left in the second period after Ben Clark broke loose on the option for an 80-yard run down the left sideline. M.V. led 14-0 and nearly added another score before halftime. On the final possession of the half, the Vineyarders started at their own 20-yard line. First, Jacob Cardoza rumbled down the right sideline for 28 yards. Next, James Sashin lobbed a flea flicker to Cardoza, who made a spectacular diving catch at the Bellingham 15. The Vineyarders got off three more plays before time ran out but the Blackhawks snared Mussell’s final throw in the back of the endzone.

The Vineyarders continued to excel on both sides of the ball throughout the second half.

Dan Costello recovered a fumble at the Bellingham 48, 4:26 into the third quarter. Mike Mussell connected with James Sashin on passes of 25 and 10 yards before Jacob Cardoza bulled in from the two for the Vineyard’s third TD of the night. Sashin then split the uprights to make it 21-0.

Lucas DeBettencourt put the finishing touch on a sparkling Vineyard effort with a two-yard touchdown plunge late in the final period.

After an 0-4 start, the Vineyarders have pulled themselves back to .500.

“I’m very proud of the way the guys have rebounded,” Coach Herman said. “We’ve won four in a row now. We’re 5-5 with an opportunity next week to finish up with a winning season. That’s an awesome goal for us right now. We haven’t given up any points in the past two weeks. They [Bellingham] had a pretty good offense. The main thing we wanted to accomplish was to come out of this game healthy.”

And healthy the Vineyarders are heading into next Saturday’s clash with Nantucket in the 36th playing of the Island Cup.

Pending a game at West Bridgewater November 15, the Whalers are currently 7-2 under first year coach Brian Ryder and have a big, talented squad.

“It’s going to be exciting,” Coach Herman said. “We’re excited. They’re a good football team. They’ve been having a great year. They have a new coach this year, Brian Ryder, who played for Vito [legendary Nantucket coach Vito Capizzo]. He’s done a good job there. They’re big, physical and athletic, so I look forward to a very good football game.”

The 36th Island Cup kicks-off at 1:30 pm Saturday, November 22 at Dan McCarthy Field. The Vineyarders lead the Cup 18-17 and have won 10 straight over their island rivals, while Nantucket holds a 35-28-3 edge in the overall series dating back to 1953. The jayvee contest begins at 10:30am.


Game 9: (November 7, 2014)





Game 8: (October 31, 2014)





The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) Vineyarders ran big plays early and often to beat the Bourne High School Canalmen, 41-6, Friday night at Dan McCarthy Field in Oak Bluffs.

After stifling Bourne on downs in the game’s opening possession, senior quarterback Mike Mussell unleashed a 39-yard strike to a wide-open sophomore James Sashin for the score barely two minutes into the tilt. James Sashin added the first of his six extra points for a 7-0 Vineyard lead.

The Vineyarders took over on downs after the ensuing Bourne possession and on the first play from scrimmage, junior back Jacob Cardoza scored on an 80-yard burst up the middle for a 14-0 lead as a thin Halloween night crowd was settling into their seats shortly after MVRHS cheerleader Oshantay Waite sang the national anthem.

The rejuvenated Vineyarder squad (3-5), which has won three of its last four games after an 0-4 start, has been piling up impressive numbers over the last two weeks. On Friday night, Mike Mussell was 5 for 7 passing for 158 yards with three TD passes as well as receiving a touchdown pass from James Sashin. Mike has 14 TD passes thus far this season.

Juniors Jacob Cardoza and Ben Clark each scored twice. Ben Clark had 117 yards rushing to lead the team. Jacob Cardoza, with 101 yards rushing, also eclipsed the single season reception yardage record (576 yards) set in 1992 by Albie Robinson.

The first half offensive onslaught continued with a 40-yard pass from Mussell to Cardoza and a 64-yard catch and run by Jacob Cardoza. Bourne scored on a 28-yard run by Dylan Kehoe. The point-after failed and the teams headed to the locker room with the Vineyarders leading 27-6.

Ben Clark closed out the Vineyarder scoring in the second half with TDs in the third (24 yards) and fourth quarters (66 yards).

Head coach Donald Herman, who has endured the worst start (0-4) in his 29 years on the Vineyard sidelines, said he was heartened by the effort on Friday night.

“Yeah, we had some big plays,” he said. “It’s nice to see that we are starting to figure some things out. We were able to take advantage of some of the defensive schemes that Bourne was playing, but the important thing was that our kids executed well.”

Asked for his takeaway from this game, he provided the following assessment. “We are on track to being where we want to be, one step closer to a 6-5 winning season. We’ve won three of our last four and we have three games left and a lot of work to do to get there.”

While the Vineyarder offensive production was impressive on Friday night, Mr. Herman had kudos for his defense and the kicking game, featuring sophomore James Sashin whose punting work was impressive, including one booming 40-yard kick into a stiff wind.

Bourne produced an effective running game which kept the quick-strike Vineyarders offense off the field for extended periods of time. Longtime Vineyarder fan Richard “Stoney” Stone, sitting gamely atop the bleachers in frigid conditions, offered this appraisal. “I think Bourne has had more time of possession than we have,” he said.

In truth, Bourne did run the ball effectively against a Vineyarder defense that bent but didn’t break, coming up with big plays to stop the Canalmen four times on downs, including one series in which the Vineyarders tallied tackles for lost yardage on three consecutive plays.

“We’ve got an excellent linebacking corps,” Stoney said. “Austin Chandler (15 tackles to lead the defense Friday night) is having a fantastic season with Ben Clark, David Macias. Luke DeBettencourt, Andy DiMattia (14 tackles on Friday night) had very strong games.”

He noted that David is the only senior in the group. “We started some sophomores on Friday and we’ll start them again,” he said.

Which bodes well for the future? “We need numbers. Overall the numbers  are low,” he said. In fact, the Vineyarders suited up only 28 players on Friday night to face a 1-7 Bourne team with only 23 players in uniform.

At halftime, a passing Bourne fan agreed. “It’s tough. You know, most of our kids have been playing together since Pop Warner and they’ve kept playing into high school,” he said.

The Vineyarders play next Friday at Joseph Case High School in Swansea. The game against an 0-8 Cardinal squad begins at 6 pm.

They meet Bellingham High School at home on November 14 before hosting Nantucket for the annual Island Cup matchup at 1:30 pm, Saturday, Nov. 22. The schools’ JV teams play at 10:30 am.


Game 7: (October 25, 2014)





October 25, 2014


Jacob Cardoza had 200 yards rushing and receiving, and scored all three touchdowns as the Vineyarders avoided last place in the Eastern Athletic Conference in Taunton.

Cardoza caught an 85-yard TD pass from Mike Mussell in the first quarter and hauled in a 27-yard scoring strike from Mussell in the second as MV (2-5 overall, 1-3 EAC) built a 14-0 halftime lead.

After the Warriors (0-7, 0-4) cut the deficit in half early in the fourth quarter, Cardoza broke loose for a 67-yard run to paydirt.

Mussell went 8-for-13 with 156 yards passing while James Sashin converted all three PATs. MV's defense also shined up front as Lucas DeBettencourt had 15 tackles and a fumble recovery and fellow DT Andy DiMattia had 14 tackles and one sack. Linebacker James Macias also recorded 15 tackles in the victory.



Game #6: (October 17, 2014)





October 18, 2014


Somerset Berkley 44, Martha's Vineyard 18: The undefeated Raiders ventured to the island and after a slow start, unloaded on the host Vineyarders five unanswered TDs to break open a tight game and cruise to victory.

Martha's Vineyard (1-5, 0-3 EAC) awakened the sleeping giant when it went in for the game's first touchdown on a 30-yard aerial from Mike Mussell to Jacob Cardoza for a 6-0 lead.

Somerset Berkley (6-0, 3-0 EAC) bounced back and tied the game with a one-yard rush by Mark Tonucci to send the game into the second quarter tied at 6-6.

What followed was a dominant effort by the visitors, who scored the next four touchdowns, three by Tonucci on runs of one, three and five yards. Joe Fingliss also had a six-yard TD run.

The Vineyard continued to battle and scored on a 60-yard run, but a penalty against MV wiped out the play.

The Vineyarders punched in a TD on a Ben Clark 10-yard run and later James Sashin hauled in a 6-yard scoring strike from Mussell to complete the scoring.

Somerset Berkley won the battle of ball control, eating up a lot of the clock on their scoring marches.

Despite being dominated by the Raiders, MV's Austin Chandler had a monster game on defense, figuring in 19 tackles.

The Vineyarders look to get back in the win column at 1 p.m. Saturday at Coyle & Cassidy.



Game 4: (October 10, 2014)



Vineyard gridders sack Bourne for first win, 48-14

By Ralph Stewart

October 11, 2014


Martha’s Vineyard won on the gridiron for the first time this season, sinking the Bourne Canalmen 48-14 in a non-league matchup Friday night at Dan McCarthy Field in Oak Bluffs.

The Vineyarders seized control of the game early, using a quick strike offense to roll up a 35-8  halftime lead. Jacob Cardoza ran for 129 yards on eight carries and caught three passes for 78 yards, scoring three touchdowns; one by land and two by air. The Vineyarders and Canalmen are both 1-4.

“We’ve come close on a couple of occasions so it’s finally nice to get off the hump, get off the schneid,” Vineyard coach Donald Herman said after the win. “I thought the kids played hard. We came out early and were able to capitalize on a few things they allowed us to do and that’s always nice. We obviously have some things to work on but it’s always good to get that W, especially putting up 48 points.”

The Vineyarders took the opening kickoff and quickly marched down the field for the first score. Vineyard quarterback Mike Mussell keyed the drive with a 28-yard strike to James Sashin. Ben Clark followed up with a two-yard plunge for the TD. The Vineyarders faked the extra point, with Tucker McNeely passing to Cardoza for the two points and an 8-0 lead.

After thwarting Bourne’s opening possession, the Vineyarders took over at the Canalmen 47, using some razzle-dazzle to increase their lead. On first down, Jacob Cardoza took the snap, ran left, and tossed the ball to James Sashin, who stepped back and fired a perfect pass to Mike Mussell for the flea-flicker touchdown. Sashin booted the extra point to make it 15-0.

Bourne cut the lead to 15-8 following a 21-yard screen pass and a two-point conversion.

M.V. scored again on the first play of the second quarter as Mike Mussell passed to Jacob Cardoza for a 24-yard TD. James Sashin’s PAT put the Vineyard up 22-8.

The points kept on coming. On the next Vineyard drive, Mussell fired a quick pass over the middle to Cardoza, who slashed through the Bourne defense and sprinted 51 yards to the endzone with 6:57 left in the half.

Less than two minutes later, Andy DiMattia recovered a fumble at the Bourne 38. Ben Clark bulled ahead for 12 yards on first down and Curtis Farrell broke loose for a 26-yard TD on the next play.

The Vineyarders scored twice in the second half. Jacob Cardoza ripped off a 46-yard touchdown run down the right sideline midway through the third quarter and Lucas DeBettencourt chalked up his first high school touchdown with a 1-yard run late in the fourth. Isaac Higgins set up the final score with successive runs of 54 and nine yards.

All told, the Vineyarders piled up 421 yards of total offense: 273 rushing and 148 passing. Mike Mussell was 4 for 4 for 101 yards, with two touchdowns and a TD catch. Defensively, Lucas DeBettencourt had nine tackles, while David Macias and Austin Chandler each had eight tackles and a sack.

Following the game, Coach Herman hinted at a recipe for his team’s success. “The offense scored every quarter, so they get pizza for that,” he said. The reward is not limited to the offense. “If the defense gets a shutout, they get a pizza. If special teams score, they get a pizza. Anytime you talk food, it kind of motivates high school boys.”

Pizza and any other motivating factor will come in handy next Friday night October 17 in the homecoming game as the Vineyarders face perhaps their toughest test of the season: powerful Eastern Athletic Conference rival Somerset Berkley.

“It will be a battle, Coach Herman said. “[Somerset Berkley is] probably the best team on our schedule. In fact, I know it is.”


Game 4: (October 3, 2014)




By Michael Cummo

October 6, 2014


The Martha’s Vineyard varsity football team played their hearts out against Bishop Stang on a cold, misty night, but they came up just short, 21-19. After trailing 7-0 at halftime, the Vineyarders clawed their way back. The running game was working, with Jacob Cardoza carrying the ball for 88 yards and two touchdowns and Curtis Farrell tallying 40 yards. But it was not enough. After Martha’s Vineyard scored to cut the lead to 14-13, the Spartans blocked the extra point. And those points would prove to be the difference in the game.

Down 21-13 with eight minutes left, the Vineyarders went on a last-ditch drive. Quarterback Mike Mussell scrambled and threw his way towards the end zone, and ultimately the Vineyarders punched it in with a one-yard run by Ben Clark.

With the score now 21-19, Martha’s Vineyard went for a necessary two-point conversion to tie the game. But Mike Mussell’s pass was overthrown and the conversion failed, making the comeback incomplete.

The defense played well, though, with linebackers David Macias and Austin Chandler combining for 27 tackles. Martha’s Vineyard is now 0-4 overall and 0-2 in Eastern Athletic Conference play.

Game 3 (September 27, 2014)1





September 13, 2014


Bishop Feehan 23, Martha's Vineyard 7: Martha's Vineyard's offensive struggles continued as it opened its Eastern Athletic Conference campaign with a loss to Bishop Feehan in Taunton.

MV falls to 0-3 while Bishop Feehan improves to 1-3.

The game was tied 7-7 midway through the second quarter after MV quarterback Mike Mussell teamed up with Jacob Cardoza on a 50-yard TD pass.

The Shamrocks were able to put up a touchdown and field goal before the half for a 17-7 lead.

The only second-half score came late, after Feehan intercepted a Mussell pass and returned it deep into Vineyard territory.

"We need to figure something out on offense," MV coach Donald Herman said. "Our running game is basically non-existent. We'll do something."

Herman said the defense played very well and had three sacks. Sophomore defensive tackle Lucas DeBettencourt again played well. Linebackers David Macias and Ben Clark had 12 tackles each and Cardoza had a strong game at safety.

MV, which has been on the road all season, finally plays a home game Friday night against Bishop Stang. It is the first of three straight home games.


Game 2 (Friday, September 12, 2014)





September 13, 2014


Brighton 28, Martha's Vineyard 13: The Vineyarders found themselves trailing early in their game against the Bengals and could never catch up to the host club, dropping their second game of the season.

For Brighton, it was the season-opener and the Bengals appeared ready and waiting for the island visitors.

After falling behind, 14-0, Martha's Vineyard (0-2) got back into it with a 10-yard scoring strike from Mike Mussell to Jacob Cardoza. James Fashin booted the extra point.

However, the host club scored on its next possession and the Vineyarders found themselves in a 14-point hole once again.

MV got on the board again when Mussell connected on a 20-yard TD aerial to Curtis Farell.

MV is off until Sept. 27 when they open Eastern Athletic Conference play at Bishop Feehan.

Game 1 (Friday, September 5, 2014)





September 06, 2014


Bedford 20, Martha's Vineyard 13: Vineyarders' coach Don Herman wasn't inclined to punch a wall even though his team lost to the Buccaneers in the non-league opener for both teams in Bedford.

"We were down 7-0 last year at the half, "Herman said referring to last year's 21-0 loss to the Buccaneers. "We didn't get a first down last year against these guys until the third quarter. We made some strides.

"There are some definite positives to take out of this. Obviously, there are some things we have to work on.

"That's what a nonleague game is for. They're a division above us. We fought hard and I feel better tonight than I did at this time last year."

One positive would be the passing of quarterback Mike Mussell, who missed much of last season due to injury.

Mussell completed 13-of-22 passes for 164 yards — including an 11-yard touchdown pass to Ben Clark with 5:39 left in the first half, which gave the Vineyarders a 6-0 lead at halftime.

After Bedford ran off 20 unanswered points, Mussell engineered a 77-yard, fourth-quarter drive that culminated with a 22 yard touchdown pass to Curtis Farrell with 2:51 remaining.

When James Sashin kicked the extra point, the Vineyarders trailed 20-13. And when they forced Bedford to punt, they had one last chance. But a drive stalled on Bedford's 42 as time expired.

"The kids battled which was encouraging," Herman said. "That's definitely a positive take from this. That's a very skilled and well-coached team we played tonight.

"We had some opportunities and that's all we could look for. We had the ball in our hands at the end of the game. There were a couple situations, defensively, where we misaligned and blew some responsibilities. That was the difference in the game for us."

Blowing responsibilities was especially crucial when Bedford fullback, Aaron Lee, had the ball in his hands.

Lee gained 273 yards and scored three touchdowns on 35 carries.

Lee's one-yard dive tied the score early in the third.

His 67-yard sprint with 2:13 left in the third gave Bedford a 13-6 lead.

And after the Bucs recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, he dashed 35 yards for his team's final score.

"They didn't do too many things we didn't know were coming," Herman said. "When you don't align properly then you don't do your job."

Vineyard Football Alumni involved in College Football:

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

Ronald Brown is the running backs coach for the University of Nebraska. 

Redshirt Junior Randall Jette is a three year starting cornerback for Div. 1 University of Massachusetts. He is one of the top cornerbacks in the Mid-American Conference, and among the nations leaders in pass breakups this season.

Senior Brian Montambault is a two year starting linebacker for Framingham State University. His team was NEFC champions, played in the Div. 3 NCAA Playoffs, and he was on two All-Academic Conference Teams.


Bishop Feehan

High School


Bishop Stang

High School


Coyle & Cassidy

High School


Martha's Vineyard

Regional High School


Somerset Berkley Regional High School


2014 Eastern Athletic Conference Standings

Somerset Berkley*



Bishop Feehan*



Bishop Stang



Martha's Vineyard



Coyle & Cassidy



*Qualified for MIAA D3 Playoffs

updated 12/15/14 2:00pm

*MIAA Playoffs (click here for info)


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