Purple crushes Cathedral 32-0 in first win

Coyle, Calverley lead an offbeat cast; Island Cup next Saturday.


Hallelujah, they are off the schneid.

The heretofore winless Vineyarders handed Cathedral (Boston) a 32-0 homecoming game thrashing Friday night at Dan McCarthy Field in Oak Bluffs. The Cathedral team is a three-school co-op, also including players from Cristo Rey and Matignon, two other Boston-area high schools. 

The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) Purple improved to 1-4 on the season, riding Jayden Coyle’s career-best 116 rushing yards and two touchdowns and Gabe Brito’s 11-yard romp. Senior defensive standout and co-captain Alec Calverley got in on the fun, running in for a short-yardage TD, and emerging freshman defender Kaio DeCosta enjoyed his time on offense, hauling in a 20-yard TD pass. Harper Hearn didn’t score, but had the game’s long ball reception from Zach Atlas with a 38-yard grab. Hiaggo Goncalves kicked two points after.

Now, we’re used to seeing Brito and Coyle in the offensive stats, but Calverly, DeCosta, and Harper Hearn, stalwart defenders all? Not so much.

“How and why did we win? I think because the kids really played with emotion and intensity,” Coach Donald Herman said on Sunday. “And we had Homecoming/Senior Recognition Day before the game, and the kids wanted to play well in front of their parents, I’m sure.” The emotion and intensity were infectious, it seems. “Yeah, the student body stormed the field after the final gun. You’d think we had just won the Super Bowl. It was good to see that.”

Dan McCarthy Field was definitely an emotional venue on Friday night, beginning with a moment of silence for longtime football and softball coach Bill Belcher, who died unexpectedly at the age of 78 on August 7. Then both teams and the Vineyard cheerleaders linked arms across the field before kickoff in a show of solidarity following last week’s Cathedral game at Saint John Paul II in which racial slurs were allegedly hurled at Cathedral players during the 28-14 SJPII win in Hyannis. The matter is reportedly being investigated by the diocese of Fall River, which oversees Catholic church matters in the Hyannis area. 

MVRHS Athletic Director Mark McCarthy told The Times last week, “We just want to make [Cathedral] feel comfortable here, that they’re safe here, and show unity in fighting racism across the country.”

After the MVRHS Minnesingers sang the national anthem, the Purple celebrated a night of firsts — T.J. Lett’s first passing TD, and first TD for Kaio DeCosta. And Herman remembered his first season at the Vineyarder helm in 1985. “We were winless, just like this year, until the homecoming game, when we got our first and only win of the year, though I think we’re going to win some more this year,” he said, acknowledging that taking back the Island Cup on Saturday will be a tussle. “Nantucket is big, strong, and they’re fast. But it’s good to go in with a win under our belts,” he said.

And knocking off Cathedral (1-4), and the way the Purple did it, will no doubt create some extra game planning for The Other Island’s coaching staff before MVRHS travels to Nantucket (4-2 overall, 2-0 Cape & Islands Lighthouse Division) for the annual Cup contest, which kicks off at 2 pm on Oct. 30. The Island Cup series is tied at 20-20. 

Nantucket and Island coaches are working on providing a link so the Island can watch the game live on Nantucket’s community TV station. Watch this space for updates.