The Vineyarders resumed their football lives last Sunday morning, taking a 14-0 loss from the Sandwich High School Blue Knights, an outing that customarily grumpy Coach Don Herman described as “not all bad.”
Indeed, the Blue Knights scored on two “oops” plays, including a first-quarter TD as a result of an errant snap by the Vineyarders, setting up Sandwich on the Vineyarder 8-yard line.
The second Sandwich score came on an unlikely 84-yard jaunt in the fourth quarter after several missed tackles. “Should have been a 7-yard gain, tops,” Herman opined on Monday.
The “not all bad” parts came in between the Sandwich scores, as the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) team amassed 150 yards on the ground, and quarterback Zach Smith was four for six, passing for 21 yards.
In a preseason interview, Herman described the Blue Knights as “a good team — big, strong, and physical,” and he liked that the Vineyarders held them in check for most of the game.
The Purple were without stars Antone Moreis (out for the spring season) and Hunter Meader (cleared to begin practice last week), but got significant contributions from Ty Mayhew (67 rushing yards), Alec Calverly (45 yards), Jayden Coyle (30 yards), and Braden Sayles (78 yards rushing/punt returns).
There was good news on the defensive side of the ball as T.J. Lett snuffed a Blue Knight drive with “a textbook interception,” Herman said. Brian Torres had five unassisted stops, and Hiaggo Goncalves had four stops in his first football game. Goncalves also serves as the acrobatic goaltender on the MVRHS soccer team. Alec Calverly, as Herman predicted, had a big game, with six stops to lead Purple defense. “Oscar Shepherd had a good game, and Goncalves has real upside,” Herman said.
“It was good to be back. Sandwich has a nice, clean turf field to play on, and at times we looked like a good football team. There were mistakes. We had good drives, then made a mistake and couldn’t recover. Our pass protection and tackling must improve. Those are fundamentals. Those are fixable,” Herman said.
However, the loss to Sandwich puts the Vineyarders at 0-1 in the Cape and Islands League. They go on the road next Monday at 4:30 pm at Monomoy, looking to polish their game for the annual Island Cup tilt at Nantucket next month.