33rd Island Cup: a tale of two seasons

The 2011 Martha's Vineyard Regional High School Varsity and Junior Varsity football teams. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket will square off on the gridiron for the 64th time, Saturday, at 1pm, in Nantucket, for the 33rd playing of the Island Cup.

For the second year running, the game has been selected by the United States Marine Corps as part of it’s Great American Rivalry Series — a showcase of the 50 top high school rivalries in the nation.

On the heels of a 9-1 season under first-year coach Bill Manchester and the outstanding play of quarterback Taylor Hughes, the Whalers have perhaps their best shot at taking the Cup out of the Vineyard trophy case in nearly a decade.

The Vineyarders have won the past seven meetings in the historic rivalry, many by lopsided margins. But Nantucket, brimming with confidence from a successful season and a heroic performance in last year’s Cup game on the Vineyard — a 33-25 defeat that was even closer than the score indicates — will be champing at the bit to exact some revenge on their island rivals in front of a raucous crowd at Vito Capizzo Stadium.

The Whalers have already clinched a berth in the Division 5 Super Bowl, while the Vineyarders have struggled through a 4-6 season that has, so far, fallen short of lofty pre-season expectations.

“I thought we a had a good nucleus for the football team,” head coach Donald Herman said prior to a Sunday practice with high school alumni. “I thought we could go undefeated or second place in the league (Eastern Athletic Conference). We were almost that. We were literally about six inches short of doing that (finishing second in the EAC and referring to a 21-20 defeat at Somerset Berkley). I would have liked to have had a couple of more wins, but other than that, I think we’re okay.”

Coach Herman may well be right. The Vineyarders have won three of their past four games and two straight since a listless home performance against EAC powerhouse Bishop Feehan on Oct. 28. MV toughed out an 18-14 win at Bishop Stang the following week and soundly trounced division 1a Medford (the Vineyarders play four divisions down in 3a) 21-0 in the homecoming game, last Friday night.

The homecoming victory should give the Vineyarders a much-needed shot of momentum heading into Saturday’s contest with the Whalers, and unlike last year, Coach Herman’s squad will come into the Island Cup largely healthy.

The Vineyarders may also benefit from being battle tested through a tough schedule that has included the likes of, St. Mary’s (8-2), Assabet Voke (8-1), Pembroke (9-0), and Bishop Feehan (6-4).

In assessing the Whalers, Coach Herman sees many similarities to last year’s team and a tough game ahead. “They are basically the same team we saw last year,” Coach Herman said. “I’m not so sure they’re as fast on the perimeter as they were last year, but they’re still a very good football team. Most of their guys are back, their skill players, and with this game, you never know what’s going to happen.”

While the Vineyard coach was generous in his praise for the Whalers, he left no doubt that his competitive fires are undiminished heading into his 24th Island Cup.

“They’re a good team, they’re excited. They think that this is the best opportunity to beat the Vineyard in a long time. They obviously want to win, not only for the Cup, but for the playoffs, because it’s always good to have momentum going into the playoffs. They’re already in the super bowl. They get an automatic bid into the bowl. I’m happy for them in that respect, but we want to kick their tail.”

As with any Island Cup, the team records go out the window. If the 9-1 Whalers win for the first time since 2002, they will receive an unmatched playoff boost. If the 4-6 Vineyarders leave Vito Capizzo Stadium with the venerable trophy still in hand, the 2011 season will be an unqualified success.

For more Go Vineyard 2011 info, click here.

The junior varsity and junior high games

The jayvee contest will kick-off at 10 am at Vito Capizzo Stadium. The Vineyard jayvees beat the Whalers, 26-6, earlier in the season at Mashpee High School.

The junior high game will also get underway at 10 am, across the street from Vito Capizzo Stadium at the Nantucket Boys and Girls Club field.

The junior high rosters

Martha’s Vineyard

Player Jersey #

Dylan Araujo 5

Nick Bonneau 12

Samuel Bresnick 7

Joey Burchill 55

Jacob Cardoza 22

Chris Cartier 70

Cody Caseau 66

Crockette Cataloni 78

Cody Chalifoux 34

Mitchell Chaves 4

Austin Chandler 33

Anthony Cimeno 60

Jeffery Cimeno 35

Ben Clark 27

Krishna Datta 61

Douglas DeBettebcourt 6

Lucas DeBettencourt 77

Andrew DiMattia 53

James DiMattia 50

Justin Donahue 51

Connor Donelly 65

Curtis Farrell 23

Curtis Fisher 32

Ennis Foster 25

Brian Frost 72

Issak Higgins 26

Noah Hoyt 1

JakeJanak 85

Mercer Kelly 49

Jocob King 54

Graham Lewis 42

Nathan Lopez-Mata 19

Elijah Mathews 28

Tucker McNeely 8

Cory Medeiros 88

Zachary Moreis 11

Zachary Ryzewski 56

Jack Sayre 30

Colby Scarsella 47


Player Jersey #

Andrew Ray 4

Burke Hughes 5

Quinn Towne 6

Jack Holdgate 7

J.T. Gamberoni 9

Freddie Wiggins 10

Dominic Costanza 19

Dylan Ray 21

Ronaldo Powell 23

Cole Gilman 25

Raheem Spence 27

Kyle Frazee 28

Travis Demby 36

Chris Ancero-Allen 38

Maxx Cunningham 39

Kalik Liburd 41

Keenen Phillips 44

Alex Crisman 50

Owen West 53

Cory Ryder 54

David Wallace 58

Norman Ramsey 60

Blaze McWade 62

Nick Correia 65

Vinny Peterson 70

Joshua Braga 72

Bradley Cunningham 76

Nat Davidson 80

Keyshawn Young 82