Game 11: (November 22, 2014)
Story By Russ Charpentier
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
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.
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.
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
“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
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
“They’ve been on the same wave length all season,” Herman said of
Mussell and Cardoza. “It was great communication between
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.”
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.
MARTHA’S VINEYARD 21, NANTUCKET 7
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
Total offense 210;239
Game 10: (November 14, 2014)
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
“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
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
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
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
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
Game 7: (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
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
Game #6: (October 17, 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
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
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
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
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
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
Game 4: (October 3, 2014)
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
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
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
"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.
(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
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
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
"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
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."