The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School football team got off to a solid start of the season Friday with a convincing, no-nonsense 14-0 win over familiar rival Old Rochester on a rainy night in Mattapoisett.
The Vineyarders ran the option play to perfection all night, and senior Mike McCarthy scored both touchdowns on short runs in the first half to put the game away. A steady rain fell throughout the game making for soggy field conditions, but the Vineyarders’ defense was still able to clamp down and shut down the Bulldogs’ attack.
The Bulldogs drove to the Vineyarders’ 20-yard line to start the game, but the drive stalled when Nick Gross sacked their quarterback. The Vineyarders only allowed the Bulldogs to cross the 50-yard line one more time during the remainder of the game.
The Vineyarders first got on the board in the first quarter when McCarthy scampered off-tackle for a three-yard touchdown. During the drive, coach Donald Herman spread the ball around the backfield with runs from McCarthy, Cody Brewer and Eric Dolliver.
The Bulldogs moved the ball to the Vineyarders’ 35-yard line late in the first quarter, but their drive stalled again when they fumbled to the Vineyarders’ D.J. Kaeka. The slippery conditions caused both teams to fumble all game, but the Vineyarders did a better job of capitalizing on their opponent’s mistakes.
Late in the second quarter, the Vineyarders drove 50 yards on a six-play drive that ended when McCarthy dove for a five-yard touchdown, the last points scored in the game. The Vineyarders had a chance for a third touchdown in the fourth quarter on a long punt return, but the play was called back on a holding penalty.
Coach Herman said his defense had a strong game, adding that Gross, Matt Costello and Thomas Tilton-Heylin (playing his first varsity game) were especially strong. The coach said the win was a good way to start the season, but there was still a lot of work to be done.
“Collectively our defense played well . . . we are still figuring some things on offense, and we need to work on some things. But this was a good win,” he said.
The Vineyarders play at Carver tonight at 6 p.m.