Just getting there was a major hurdle

Travel nightmare hounds MVRHS scrimmage at Nauset.

Vineyard Coach Donald Herman focuses on a play last week. — Ralph Stewart

We’re told that things go bump when Mercury is in retrograde. That moon phase ended this weekend, but not before the Vineyarder gridders had a travel experience at least as tough as the scrimmage they eventually played against Nauset Regional in a road game.

Here’s Coach Donald Herman’s account: “First, we had a miscommunication about the boat, so half the team went to Oak Bluffs, the other half to Vineyard Haven, thinking the O.B. terminal was closed. We finally got everyone together, and just made the 1:15 ferry at OB.”

Herman owned the bad comms, though historically the O.B. terminal has closed on Columbus Day weekend. This year it closed Monday, Oct. 18.

“On the Woods Hole side, we left on the bus, which proceeded to break down twice, the second time on Route 132, so another bus was dispatched to pick us up and finish the trip to Nauset. With all that, the scrimmage only started a half-hour late (scheduled for a 5:15 start),” he said. 

Nauset won the controlled scrimmage by a 22-6 count, but the nearly six-hour journey paid some dividends, Herman said. “I saw some good things. We lost the first half (20-0) and won the second half (6-2). We sustained some good drives in the second half,” he said.

The contest was held as a scrimmage after a ruling by the state interscholastic athletic ruling body acceded to a petition by Nauset to not play powerhouse Barnstable, its scheduled opponent, on Friday. Nauset, with numbers and injury issues, argued it could not be competitive in the matchup.

“The [Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association] agreed, but said a fill-in game would have to be a scrimmage for both teams, with no effect on school records,” Herman explained. So the Vineyarders remain at 0-4 and Nauset at 1-6 this season.

Junior T.J. Lett started at quarterback in the first half. “He had four days to practice the position, but he’s a good athlete. Atlas [Zack] ran the second half, and the offense showed some signs,” Herman said.

Meanwhile, Herman and staff continue to work on developing the team play ethic, which he says is missing. “We’re young so our football IQ is not very high yet, but playing for each other, not as individuals, is key to football success. If some guys can’t get that, we’ll have to move on from them,” Herman said.

Next up for MVRHS is Senior Recognition night, Friday at Dan McCarthy Field in Oak Bluffs, against a struggling Cathedral High (Boston) team. Kickoff is at 6 pm, preceded by recognition of 10 football seniors and their families.