Pass the Rolaids.
The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) gridders showed their signature flash and panache most of Saturday night before a few miscues and bonehead penalties cost them a homecoming-game win against a very good Sandwich football team that came from behind to trim the Purple 28-26 at Dan McCarthy field in Oak Bluffs.
Sandwich freshman quarterback Tim Bengtson hooked up with C.J. Wiper for a game-winning 26-yard touchdown pass with 2:38 left on the clock. Vineyarder Antone Moreis caught up with Wiper at the goal line and the ball popped loose, but the score stood.
To add injury to insult, senior captain Justin Chin was lost for the season late in the game with a broken fibula. “Justin has had a standout season, and it’s a shame his career ended this way,” Coach Donald Herman said.
The Vineyarders jumped out to an early 14-0 lead, led 14-7 at halftime, then traded second-half touchdowns with the Blue Knights, whose margin of victory came from extra points. Sandwich kicked all four of theirs. MVRHS failed on three of four attempts, including a blocked attempt.
The Vineyarders and Sandwich were evenly matched, and both played at a high level, except for the times when they didn’t. Unfortunately, the Vineyarder mistakes helped escort Sandwich to the end zone twice.
Asked on Sunday for his take on how the game played out, Herman said, “My takeaway was I don’t mind losing a game, but I do mind how and why we lost this one.
“I’ve been telling [the players] that we’ve had a good run the past three weeks, but I was concerned how we would respond when someone figuratively smacks us in the mouth. On Saturday, we got a lead and became complacent. We showed our immaturity. Mental mistakes were the difference in a game we should have won going away.
“For example, we gave them 50 yards on their last [winning] drive, a 20-yard completion, and back-to-back 15-yard personal foul penalties,” he said of a game that clearly turned mean midway in the third quarter, and which proved again the adage that sports officials often miss the first foul, but always see the retaliation.
“We still have a shot at a share of the league championship if we can handle Monomoy and Nantucket the next two weeks,” Herman said.
Big night, though, for a lot of MVRHS players, including the offense led by sophomore Moreis. He had three touchdown runs, 18, 26 and 30 yards, and totaled 176 yards on the night. (For those of you who are counting, that’s 452 running yards and eight TDs in the past two games.) Jayden Coyle also had a strong night, adding a TD and 77 yards rushing on 14 carries.
Brian Torres led the Vineyarder defense with eight tackles, Antone Moreis added an interception, and Josh Pinto greeted frosh Bengtson, who played brilliantly, with a resounding sack on the Blue Knights’ opening series.
The Purple slip to 3-2 overall, 0-1 in the Cape & Islands League Lighthouse Division, while Sandwich improves to 2-3 and 1-0 in the C&I. The Vineyarders travel to Harwich on Friday for a 5:30 kickoff against the Monomoy Sharks.