There were some in the stands at McCarthy Field, Friday, who had never herd of Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School, until they learned that a football team of that name, from Marlboro, aka the Aztecs, would visit the Vineyard.
I admit it — the sports editor of The Times was one of them.
At first it seemed a bit strange. But maybe, I thought, the Coach and the AD figured a little respite was a good idea before the Islanders’ next Conference game with Someset. (MV plays at Pembroke today at 3:30.)
Then we found out that the Aztecs were 3-0 and had beaten Worcester Tech last week 40-0.
Our attitude began to change.
When we arrived at the football field we discovered that AVRT listed 88 players and had brought every one of them, uniformed.
Admittedly, we noticed that 29 of them were freshmen, while our team of 29 stalwarts was all juniors or seniors. The single exception — Tyler Paulson, a sophomore.
There were some big fellows among the 88 but we listed a dozen weighing 200 pounds or more. It looked like a fair fight.
AVRT began the game with an on-side kick covered by the Vineyard on their own 40. Eight plays moved the ball to the Aztec 30 where the visitors took over on downs. The ball moved up and down the field and the game remained scoreless in the first quarter. But the second period began with the Aztecs knocking at the door, first and goal on the MV 2 yard line. They scored on the second play of the period. Nate Costello did the honors. Paul Harpin ran for a two-point conversion.
The second AVRT on-side kick worked like a charm and the Aztecs were in business again. They scored their second TD four plays later, then added another two pointer. Harpin and Costello delivered the spoils and it was 16-0.
Yet another on-side kick was covered by the visitors, but this time they fumbled on the MV 37, covered by Harry West. Ryan Fisher ran 48 yards to the AVRT 15 from where Tyler Araujo carried into the end zone. The extra-point try failed and the score was 16-6 at the half.
The Islanders forced a punt early in the third quarter, but allowed the ball to be grounded on the MV 9 yard line.
After Fisher gained eight, Tyler Araujo broke free and rumbled 83 yards to score. Again, the extra-point effort failed, but things looked brighter at 16-12.
The next TD, in the fourth quarter, by Tyler MacDonald, made it 22-12. MacDonald ran around left end to raise the ante to 24-12, the final score.
There was really nothing fancy about the Aztec attack. It was run off-tackle again and again with an occasional end sweep, the kind of a game that is often affectionately called “smash mouth.” They were good at it.