Martha’s Vineyard wallops Nantucket 21-7 to hang on to Island cup

The victory puts the Vineyard up 19-17 in the longtime inter-island rivalry.

Ben Clark smiles and hoists the Island Cup. — Photo by Michael Cummo

In a defensive game with plenty of fouls by both teams,  Martha’s Vineyard beat Nantucket 21-7 on Saturday afternoon in the annual Island cup football game. Mike Mussell, breaking a Vineyard passing record, threw for two touchdowns to Jacob Cardoza.

Hundreds of fans — Vineyarders and a robust cheering section from Nantucket — filled the stands at Dan McCarthy Field at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School, on a sunny but chilly November day.

The first quarter remained scoreless, but Ben Clark changed that at the start of the second quarter when he plunged over the goal line for a touchdown. James Sashin’s extra point  made it 7-0, Vineyard.

The score remained the same until 6:07 on the clock in the third quarter, when Nantucket tied it up 7-7.  The game stayed a nailbiter until Mike Mussell found receiver Jacob Cardoza for another touchdown, and Sashin kicked the extra point to make it 14-7, Martha’s Vineyard.

With 7:17 left in the fourth, the Vineyard recovered the ball on a bad snap on a Nantucket punt and at 5:56, it was Mussell to Cardoza again, extra point good, and MV was up 21-7 for the final.

Over three and one-half decades, Island Cup dominance has ebbed and flowed. The Vineyarders have won the last nine Island Cup games and the Whalers enjoyed a 9-1 run before Mr. Herman took the Vineyarder helm 28 years ago. This year’s victory gives the Vineyard a 19-17 edge in the rivalry.