Martha's Vineyard Sports
The Super Bowl
The Martha's Vineyard varsity football team met more than its match in the Division 3A super bowl at Bentley College in Waltham, Saturday, losing to the Amesbury Indians, 40-19.
On paper the teams looked like a good match. Both were 10-1 on the season, Amesbury losing by one point, 14-15, to Georgetown. Martha's Vineyard lost by two points, 22-20, to Carver.
Amesbury cruised past Whittier in the playoff game, 34-0. Martha's Vineyard ran away with a 42-13 playoff win over South Boston.
Regrettably, however, Saturday's game was not played on paper but on the field turf at Bentley.
Photos by Ralph Stewart
Martha's Vineyard won the coin toss and chose to receive the kick-off. Things went down hill from there.
Cody Brewer fielded the kick and ran to the Vineyard 34 where he was stripped of the ball, which was covered by Amesbury. It took the Indians eight plays, including runs by all four backs: Jared Flannigan, Ryan Dragon, Jesse Burrell, and Kevin Johnson, for Amesbury to move he ball to the Martha's Vineyard 10. A procedure penalty set them back to the 15, from where Flannigan passed to Burrell in the end zone.
Amesbury's talented kicker Bill Medvitz upped the count to 7-0.
Nick Gross returned Medvitz's second kick 22 yards to the Martha's Vineyard 39. Mike McCarthy's third-down pass was intercepted and Amesbury took possession on the Martha's Vineyard 40. It took the tribe just five plays to reach the end zone, finishing with a 13-yard run by Johnson. Medvitz's kick was good, and it was 14-0.
Brian Montambault covered a short kick on the Martha's Vineyard 34. Five rushes moved the line of scrimmage to the Amesbury 40 before McCarthy fumbled, turning the ball over to the Indians on their 43. Amesbury advanced the ball to the Martha's Vineyard two-yard line in four plays, including a 39-yard scamper by Flannigan. Johnson carried across the goal line making the score 20-0. Medvitz's kick added an extra point, 21-0.
So far, three Martha's Vineyard turnovers had led to three Amesbury touchdowns.
Still early in the second quarter the Vineyarders launched a 10-play drive climaxed by an 18-yard scoring pass from McCarthy to Nick Gross whose circus catch in the end zone was the high water mark for the Islanders. Brooks Billingham's boot added the extra point and the Islanders were on the board: 21-7.
The Martha's Vineyard kick was returned to midfield. Six plays later Flannigan - all 155 pounds of him - trotted into the end zone untouched from the three. Medvitz continued to perform and it was 28-7.
Martha's Vineyard fumbled the kick return and Amesbury covered the loose ball on the Martha's Vineyard 31. Three plays later Flannigan found Dragon in the end zone, making the count 34-7, the score at the half-time break.
Billingham's kick opening the second half was returned to the Indians' 39. On the first play of the period Flannigan dashed 61 yards to raise the ante to 40-7. Medvitz's attempt to add an extra point failed. Only 16 seconds had ticked off the clock.
Nick Gross returned Medvitz's kick from the 22 to the 38. Runs by Costello and McCarthy earned a first down at midfield, but the Vineyarders could go no farther than the Indian 27 before giving up the ball on downs.
Eleven plays put the ball on the Vineyard three-yard line but just as the Amesbury fans were counting another TD, Randall Jette intercepted a Flannigan pass in the end zone and Martha's Vineyard resumed play on their 20-yard line. McCarthy found Gross who carried to the 38, then ran 10 more yards for a first down on the 48 as the third quarter ended. Brewer picked up 12 yards to the Amesbury 38. Costello ran 13 to the 25. A 12-yard pass to Jette was followed by a 13-yard TD pass to Gross raising the score to 40-13.
Beginning on their own 47, the Indians moved inexorably to the Vineyard 14. Amesbury coach Thorn Connors pulled his starters.
Martha's Vineyard held, took over on downs at their five and moved 95 yards in eight plays for their third TD, McCarthy doing the honors and making the final score, 40-19.
Certainly it was not their finest hour. The turnovers were the most obvious part of the disappointment, but the simple decisive fact was the inability of the Martha's Vineyard defense to contain the Amesbury running game, more the frustration as the defensive unit had contributed so much to the team's winning record, including three shutouts.
So the Super Bowl was lost. But the season was a winner by anyone's measure.
Coach Donald Herman has submitted Michael McCarthy's name nominating him for Old Spice Red Zone Player of the Year to be honored in a full-page feature in USA Today in February.
This is the eighth year that Old Spice is recognizing high school players who go above and beyond the call of duty, especially in the Red Zone. Able to elevate their play when the heat is on, the nominees embody leadership, performance, and desire, serving as examples to be emulated on and off the field.
Fifty high school football players from across the nation will be named Red Zone Players of the year.
The varsity and junior varsity football teams will hold their end of season Potluck banquet in the high school cafeteria on Wednesday, Dec. 17, at 6 pm. Dress for an away game.
Ice Arena heats up
The Martha's Vineyard Regional High School girls varsity hockey team scrimmaged with Sandwich last weekend and played well enough to please Coach Sam Sherman who told The Martha's Vineyard Times that he is optimistic about the season that begins this Saturday, here, versus the same Sandwich team.
Following the Blue Knights, the Vineyard girls will be tested by Falmouth and Barnstable.
The Martha's Vineyard boys more than held their own against two visiting heavyweights in their weekend scrimmages.
First up were the two-time defending Mass. division one champs from Needham High. The Vineyaders dropped the first tilt 5-2, but tied the second 2-2.
On Sunday, Colin Hurd scored the tying goal in period three to lift the home side to a 2-2 tie with Hamden, Conn. The Green Dragons were the top seed and a division one quarter-finalist in the Nutmeg State last year.
The boys scrimmaged with Marshfield at the Armstrong Arena in Plymouth yesterday and open the regular season at the Martha's Vineyard Arena against Mansfield Saturday at 5 pm.
Schools start Hoops season
The Martha's Vineyard Interscholastic basketball season tipped off Tuesday with the Edgartown Eagles swooping into Oak Bluffs to challenge the Blazers who haven't lost a game in two years. The hot ones continued their win streak with a 62-37 win. Andrew Hahn (12), Isaac Browne (11), and Diego DeFreitas (11) led the Oak Bluffs attack. Both Andrew Hakala and Mike Bizzarro added 8.
The game-high scorer was Edgartown's Ryan Gosson who poured in 16 points. Brian Hurley contributed 7.
At West Tisbury the Hawks had their way with the Charter School, 61-27. Top scorers for WesTiz were Jack Roberts (14), Jacob Lawrence (11), and Ben Dwane (11). Three other Hawks each scored six: Kane Araujo, Cooper Chapman, and Stuart Hersh.