Vineyarders beat Randolph 18-6 for first win

The Vineyarders score early in the second quarter in 18 to 6 win over Randolph. — Photo by Laurie Turney

Martha’s Vineyard won its first game of the varsity football season Friday night with an 18-6 road victory over Randolph. The win was a huge boost for the Vineyarders (1-2), who bounced back after losses in the first two games. They begin their Eastern Athletic Conference schedule Friday night at home against Bishop Feehan. Kickoff is at 6:30 pm.

The Vineyarders prevailed thanks to a stifling defense, which held the Blue Devils to 94 total yards, and great play by special teams, which led to touchdowns on a punt return and a blocked punt. The Purple also overcame nine penalties and two turnovers.

Some 35 Vineyard fans traveled to Randolph for the game, according to team booster Laurie Turney. They enjoyed the game under the lights with clear, warm skies.

The game started about 20 minutes late because of a delay in getting officials to the field.

The Vineyarders got on the scoreboard first with a 68-yard touchdown drive early in the second quarter. Senior fullback Tony Canha scored on a 1-yard run. The extra point was no good.

A chance to take a larger lead slipped by in the final minute of the first half, when the Vineyarders failed to score on first and goal from the 2-yard line. At halftime, M.V. led 6-0.

DeShawn James gave the Vineyard a 12-0 lead midway through the third quarter after fielding a punt and sprinting 88 yards to the end zone. The two-point conversion failed.

The Blue Devils needed just two plays to respond, scoring on a touchdown pass from quarterback Brent White to receiver Nathan Fernandes. After three, Randolph trailed 12-6.

The Vineyard special teamers struck in the fourth quarter, when Andrew Jacobs-Walsh blocked a punt deep in Randolph territory, then recovered the football in the end zone to score. The PAT failed and the Vineyarders led 18-6.

Randolph returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown, but the play was called back because of a penalty.

The Vineyarders sealed the victory when Tony Canha picked off Brent White for the second time in the game.

Ned Fennessy to be recognized Friday

Former MVRHS boys varsity tennis coach Ned Fennessy, who retired last June after 23 years in charge, will be recognized for his years of service to the school during halftime of Friday night’s Martha’s Vineyard-Bishop Feehan varsity football game. Mr. Fennessy won more than 260 matches as coach and led the Vineyarders to back-to-back MIAA Division 3 state championships in his final two seasons. Current and former players are encouraged to attend.