Chippy D-Y chills MVRHS gridders, 29-7

Coach O’Donnell hangs ‘em up.

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The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School gridders succumbed to the Dennis-Yarmouth High School Dolphins by a 29-7 count on Saturday afternoon at Dan McCarthy Field in Oak Bluffs.

The Dolphins erupted for three big-play TDs in five minutes in the third quarter to pull away after the teams fought to a 7-6 halftime score in favor of the Vineyarders, who scored first on a five-yard scurry by Hiaggo Goncalves halfway through the first period. Gabe Pinto kicked the extra point.

The Vineyarders, now 2-6 on the season, have been punching above their weight class this season, and definitely were in this matchup.

D-Y has beaten Falmouth, and were only a touchdown short against Nantucket. Coach Donald Herman knew his charges would have their hands full. Coach Donald Herman called the game “a tale of two halves. We played a great first half, and took a 7-6 lead into halftime. They made some plays in the second half. Their athleticism showed up in the second half.”

Saturday was the last home game for the Vineyarder seniors, and they responded with a great effort, Herman said. The Vineyarders had 100-plus yards on the ground for the third straight game. Hiaggo Goncalves led the way with 49 yards (plus 12 yards receiving), Jayden Coyle had 34 yards, and T.J. Lett, Christan Turner, and Kaio Pereira combined for 20 more rushing yards.

Fifteen players got tackling credits in this one, a season-long pattern of more players participating as Herman gives his young squad game experience. On Saturday, Christian Turner and Luke Baldwin had six tackles each, followed by Harper Hearn and Gabe Brito, each with four stops. Chase Grant, Kaleb Hatt, T.J. Lett, Jayden Coyle, and Kaio Pereira all had three tackles. Alec Calverley, Wyatt Nicholson, Caio Guimarães, Heyytor Nunes, and Hiaggo Goncalves had two stops, and Miguel Zarillo had a tackle.

Herman praised his team for full effort and for playing a disciplined game, and uncharacteristically criticized his opponent’s playing style.

“Yesterday was a tale of two teams as well. One played with class, one without class. D-Y played like a bunch of punks. Unnecessary roughness, personal fouls all day. They have a new coach. D-Y is a talented team, but they’ll never reach their potential unless the kids are reined in,” he predicted. Herman pointedly opted not to do the traditional post-game handshake, instead lining up on the hash marks to acknowledge the other team.

It was also the last home game for longtime Coach Jason O’Donnell, who was honored at halftime with a surprise shout-out from his team and family. Herman had quietly invited O’Donnell’s family, and the team signed a football which was presented while an accolade Herman had written was read over the loudspeaker. “We’ll miss him, four years as a player and 16 years as a coach,’ Herman said on Sunday, noting the game had drawn a packed house. “That’s a great turnout on a Saturday afternoon. We want to thank the community, the student body, fans, and our school administration for their support this season. It’s not always easy to turn out for a 2-6 team. They’ve been terrific,” Herman said.

The Purple close the season in Spencer next Saturday with a 1 pm kickoff against David Prouty High School. Herman said the two teams are well-matched.

The Times thanks game statistician Jared Meader sending complete game stats to coaches and media immediately following the game’s final whistle. Meader has developed a spreadsheet format, tweaked over the past few seasons, that provides high-quality information.

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