Martha's Vineyard Sports
Vineyarders bring home Island Cup
Photos by Ralph Stewart
No one doubted that Martha's Vineyard would win the 62nd inter-Island football game Saturday and retain possession of "The Cup." After all, the Vineyarders had already clinched the Mayflower Large championship and were headed to the pre-Super Bowl playoffs on Tuesday, Dec. 2, at Taunton. They had amassed a 10-1-0 record and in the last six games had outscored opponents, 184-40.
Nantucket, on the other hand, had yet to win a game.
Still, as a laconic Joe Morgan once observed, when reporters urged him to comment on the unfair advantage the Yankees had with Steinbrenner's deep pockets, "Well, they put nine men on the field and so do we. That's fair."
Nantucket would put 11 players on the field, the same as the Vineyard, and QB Chris Welch had some big targets in Josh Butler and Joe Bopp. One significant difference was in the available substitutes on the "bench." Nantucket listed 25 varsity players but dressed only 19. Martha's Vineyard suited 39.
The weather was brutal. A bone-chilling wind blew the length of the field throughout the game, strong enough to knock down punts and create problems for passers, especially the Whalers, whose running game posed little threat.
The worst fears of a Vineyard blowout seemed justified when the opening kickoff was fielded by Nick Gross on the Martha's Vineyard 25 and carried 75 yards for a touchdown. Erik Dolliver bulled into the end zone for a two-point conversion.
The Vineyarders led 8-0 after 13 seconds.
The Whalers' response was impressive.
Cody Brewer's kick was returned to the Whalers 32 yard line. After a short gainer, Josh Butler snagged a Welch pass just shy of midfield. Officials added 15 more yards as Martha's Vineyard was called for a personal foul, the first of three major penalties incurred by the Vineyard in the quarter. Two plays later, Butler caught another Welch pass in the end zone.
Connolly congratulates Coach Herman on
The try for a tying two-point conversion failed, but the Whalers had served notice that they had no plans to capitulate.
Before the first quarter was over, Matt Costello would post a second Martha's Vineyard touchdown, and Mike McCarthy's two-pointer would up the ante to 16-6.
The second 10 minutes saw the Vineyard score three times, all on passes from McCarthy: a 12-yarder to Gross, a 16-yard toss to Randall Jette, and a 40-yard heave to Doug Asselin. At the half Martha's Vineyard led, 37-6.
Coach Donald Herman pulled his first-stringers for the second half. Later he would remark that he treated the game something like a scrimmage.
The Martha's Vineyard subs held their own, scoring on a Josh Baker run in the third quarter, matched by a scoring pass, Chris Welch to Josh Butler: 43-14. Nantucket would score on a Welch to Troy Sullivan pass with time running out and cash in two extra points. Final score: Martha's Vineyard 43, Nantucket 22.
It was the sixth year in a row that the Vineyard had won The Game and retained the Island Cup.
As far as one can tell, the future looks like more of the same, as the Martha's Vineyard Junior Varsity won its game, 34-0, and the Martha's Vineyard Junior High team shut out the Junior High Whalers, 24-0.
The Varsity's playoff game with South Boston, Tuesday, Dec. 2, will be played at Taunton High School beginning at 4:45 p.m.
The winner of that game goes to the Super Bowl, December 6.
Fan bus tickets for postseason games may be purchased in the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School cafeteria.
Martha's Vineyard Youth hockey
Friday, at Raynham, the Martha's Vineyard Junior High boys hockey team was shut out by KP Stone Junior High, 4-0.
On Saturday, at Foxboro, the Martha's Vineyard PeeWees lost to Needham's PeeWees, 8-3.
At the Nantucket Arena, the Martha's Vineyard Squirts bowed to the Whalers, 6-4, in the first game of a double header. Nantucket also won the second game, 5-2.
The Martha's Vineyard Bantams squeezed by Nantucket, 4-3.
Sunday, at Foxboro, the Martha's Vineyard Squirts lost to Y/D, 4-2.
Martha's Vineyard Youth Hockey is the grateful recipient of six very much needed First Aid kits, thanks to the generosity of John Rogers and Verizon. Martha's Vineyard Youth Hockey has also received a generous donation from the Blume family. Thank you.
Saturday, the Martha's Vineyard Bantams beat Nantucket, 4-2. Thomas Wilkens scored twice. Bobby Perry and Tony DeBettencourt also scored. Zolie Clark was strong in goal.
Also Saturday, the Squirts were blanked by Nantucket in a Cape & Islands game, 3-0. The Vineyarders were missing some key players. Auguste Pizzano and Elinor Hanjian were strong on defense.
On Sunday, the Travel Mites lost to Barnstable, 8-1. Jack Murray scored unassisted.