Updated Nov. 8
The Vineyarder football team dismantled a controversy-riven St. John Paul II (JP II) team by a 38-6 score on Friday night in an away game at Hyannis.
The surging Vineyarders (2-5) have won two of their last three, including a strong showing in an Island Cup loss at Nantucket last weekend. After a 4-1 season start, the Lions fell to 4-4 on Friday, following three straight losses, including a forfeit after charges surfaced that JP II players made racial taunts to players on the Cathedral/Maignon/Cristo Rey Boston High School team in an Oct. 16 game.
Vineyarder Hiaggo Goncalves led the way Friday night with two rushing scores for the Purple. Kaio Decosta had a TD reception from T.J. Lett, Jayden Coyle and Christian Turner had rushing TDs, and Lett returned a punt 40 yards for a TD. Goncalves made two extra-point kicks to complete the scoring.
The Vineyarders led 25-6 at halftime, and 32-6 after three quarters when Coach Don Herman took his foot off the pedal and gave youngsters more game experience. The Vineyarders dominated on both sides of the ball, rolling up 396 all-purpose yards, including 271 yards from scrimmage.
On defense, freshman Jonah Saunier and sophomores Heyttor Nunes and Chase Grant each recovered a Lions fumble, and Harper Hearn and T.J. Lett both made interceptions. A season-high 20 players got credit for tackles and assists. Senior Andrew Purdy and Nunes had sacks. while Alec Calverly contributed a half-sack.
“Everybody played on Friday, and the kids played really well on both sides of the ball. John Paul came ready to play. They are a young team, rebuilding, and opted out of the league this year because of rebuilding,” Herman said. “We look forward to them being back in the league next year.”
The Vineyarders face Dennis-Yarmouth at 1 pm on Saturday afternoon at Dan McCarthy Field in a game dictated by the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA). The MIAA has baffled and frustrated football coaches across the state with its newly amended rating criteria. Last week, the Nantucket cable TV broadcast team were clearly upset with MIAA ranking decisions, and Coach Herman was head-scratching on Sunday about MIAA scheduling decisions, noting that D-Y is 3-5 but has wins against big school programs like Falmouth, and is ranked 13th in regional power rankings. The Vineyarders are ranked 36th.
“Well, it’s a challenge, but this year, they are all challenges,” Herman said, noting that Friday will be a ‘blackout’ game, meaning that the Purple will be suited in black uniforms purchased by the school several years ago. “No, I don’t think there is any significance to [the black uniforms], but they are cool. We wear ’em once or twice a year,” he said.
The Purple’s travel woes this season are well-documented, and Herman chuckled on Sunday as he recounted arriving at the Pop Warner field in Sandwich for Friday’s game to find that the lines on the field had been laid for a soccer match. “Couple of phone calls, and the Sandwich AD graciously let us use the Sandwich High field,” he said.
Saturday’s game will be the final home game of the season before the Vineyarders end the season with a 1 pm kickoff at David Prouty High School in Spencer on Nov. 20.
Updated with comments from Don Herman and information on next game. –Ed.