The Vineyarder football team is officially back, posting a 6-4 record in 2019 after several forgettable campaigns.They did it Friday night in Fairhaven, winning 40-8 on the legs of sophomore running back Antone Moreis, who had four touchdowns and more than 300 all-purpose yards.
Moreis had two TDs via lightning punt returns totaling 150 yards, and added two more TDs on one-yard and 12-yard runs. In an otherwise measured attack, Hoffie Hean and Braden Sayles also had touchdowns. Oscar Shepherd continued to make the most of his injury-shortened season, leading the way with eight solo and two assisted tackles.
Moreis also rushed for 140 yards on 10 carries in the game, racing past the coveted 1,000-yard mark for the season. He entered the game at 953, yards and finished with 1,093, making him the first sophomore football player in MVRHS history to achieve the bellwether 1,000-yard mark in a season. Also, his four TD performance on Friday makes him the current Massachusetts state D6 leader in TDs, with 23, and second in the state overall in TDs and points scored (153). MVRHS has completed its season, but other teams have Thanksgiving rivalry games left on the schedule.
The explosive nature of Vineyarder scoring Friday night overshadowed some topflight Fairhaven performances. Senior captain Owen Cebula is a top-quality running back who gained well over 100 yards on the night, possessing skills that make him a college prospect. Vineyarder defender Owen Metell was Cebula’s constant companion, and kept Cebula from the end zone several times.
Blue Devils quarterback Peter Joseph is a triple threat on offense, and was cool under relentless Vineyarder pressure. Fairhaven reminds us of the 2017 Vineyarder team. The Blue Devils can showcase a handful of skill players like Joseph, Cebula, sophomore Cam Gordon, Reese Antunes, and Alex DeAlmeida, but at this point lacks the experience on defense necessary for success.
Vineyard Coach Don Herman is excited to have a young team of grownup players: “With just three seniors on this year’s team, I am very excited about the possibilities for next season. If the returning players and new players commit to the weight room and to self-improvement, the sky is the limit.”
While players and parents gathered for photos and hugs at midfield following the game, Herman said, “It’s a great way to end the season. Way better than last year,” speaking in, dare we say it, a lighthearted tone.
The Vineyarder win evened the 40-game Fairhaven series at 20 wins apiece, as the Blue Devils sipped to 1-8 on the season.
The Herman back-from-retirement story, the Moreis exploits, and the accomplishments of a host of players not named Moreis made 2019 a particularly memorable season.