The juggernaut Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School football team continued its ascent toward a championship on Tuesday, easily defeating a talented team from Monument High School in South Boston in the state divisional playoffs to advance to a Super Bowl showdown against Amesbury tomorrow at Bentley University in Waltham.
Tomorrow’s Eastern Massachusetts Division 3A championship game kicks off at 1 p.m.
The Vineyarders, champions of Mayflower League Large, carry an 11-1 record into the game. Amesbury advanced to the Super Bowl on the strength of a convincing 34-0 win over Whittier earlier this week. A fan bus will leave the Vineyard tomorrow on the 9:30 a.m. boat; tickets will be on sale today during lunch period at the high school.
The game will be broadcast live on MVY Radio 92.7 FM and will be broadcast on a tape delay on MVTV at 6:30 p.m. on Monday on channel 14.
Senior quarterback Mike McCar-thy once again led the Vineyarders to victory against Monument Tuesday, rushing for 122 yards and three touchdowns while throwing for 95 yards and another score.
Coach Donald Herman lauded McCarthy for his efforts both Tuesday and all season long, noting he led the Vineyarders past the 400-point mark on the season for the first time since 1997. Coach Herman said McCarthy was again effective at running the option in Tuesday’s playoff win.
“He knew when to keep it, hand it off and pass the ball. That’s been our bread and butter all season. As long as we keep making the right reads, we will continue to do well,” the coach said.
McCarthy, who ran for over 1,000 yards on the regular season while scoring 34 touchdowns, had a six-yard touchdown run to begin the scoring in the first quarter. He followed with a nine-yard scoring run in the second quarter and a four-yard score in the third.
After establishing the run, McCarthy used a play-action pass to juke the defenders in the second quarter and before he hit wide-out Randall Jette in full stride for a picture-perfect 36-yard touchdown to give his team an early two-touchdown lead.
“The play-action pass is another weapon in our arsenal,” Coach Herman said. “[McCarthy] is getting good at throwing for at least one 30 or 40-yard touchdown a game.”
The Vineyard defense — led by Pat Hart, Cody Brewer, Matt Costello and Nick Gross — was again outstanding in the win.
Going into the game the Knights boasted a powerful ground game led by a trio of quarterback Derick Willis and running backs Akeem George and Daqueen Hill. And although the Vineyarders defense did give up yards — Willis gained 89 yards and Hill ran for 91 yards — they took a bend-but-don’t-break approach, holding the Knights to only two scores.
One of those came when Willis eluded two defenders and found George alone in the corner of the end zone for a nine-yard touchdown. The other came in the third when Willis led the Knights on a 76-yard, 12-play drive capped by a three-yard touchdown run from Hill.
But each time the Vineyarders responded.
When the Knights cut the lead to 14-8 late in the second quarter, McCarthy led his team on a 12-play drive ending when he scrambled for a nine-yard touchdown just before the half. The Vineyarders poured it on in the second half with a 10-yard scoring run from Brewer and a 17-yard score from Costello.
Brewer finished the game with 80 yards on 11 carries; Gross had 53 yards on six carries, and Costello caught three McCarthy passes for 59 yards.
Coach Herman praised both his players and coaching staff following the win.
“We felt like we had a great game plan going in. The assistant coaches did a great job of scouting . . and then the kids executed the plan. This was a total team effort,” he said.
The coach noted things won’t get any easier during tomorrow’s game against Amesbury, winners of last year’s Cape Anne Small league. Much like Monument, and the Vineyarders themselves, Amesbury features a quick quarterback and two powerful running backs who are both elusive and speedy.
Coach Herman declined to offer predictions, but noted the Vineyarders are blessed with great depth at many positions.
He also said his team is excited and pumped up for tomorrow’s championship game.
“It took a lot of work to get here, but now we’re here. We know what we have to do,” he said.