The Vineyard high school football team may have suffered a disappointing finish to the season — losing 40-19 to Amesbury in the Division 3A state championship game — but there has been much to be positive about in recent weeks as the postseason awards continued to pile up.
Coach Donald Herman was named the Division 3A coach of the year in the Boston Globe Sunday, just days after he was named coach of the year in the Mayflower League Large conference. Coach Herman has been named Mayflower League Large coach twice before, but this was the first time he was named Division 3A coach of the year.
The award, decided by sportswriters from across the state, came as a complete surprise.
“I didn’t know I was being considered. I didn’t even know anything about it until Sunday’s [edition of the Boston Globe]. But it’s a thrill to be recognized . . . it’s quite an honor,” he said.
Now in his 21st year, Coach Herman led his team to its first Mayflower League Large championship since 2003. The team went 11-2 overall and beat a tough team from Monument High School in South Boston in the playoffs to advance to the Division 3A Super Bowl against Amesbury on Dec. 6 at Bentley College.
Although Coach Herman said he was pleased with the two coaching awards, it was obvious the Super Bowl loss was still a sore spot. “I said all year the only team that could beat us every week was Martha’s Vineyard, because the only games we lost were ones in which we beat ourselves.”
But short of bringing home a state championship, the Vineyarders had as good a season as possible. The team statistically had one of its best seasons, scoring the most points ever for a Vineyarder team. The team also tore up most of its competition, winning most games by two, three or in some games four or more touchdowns.
Coach Herman remarked this was an easy team to coach.
“They showed up every week to play . . . we had what you would call ‘gamers;’ players who came up big when it mattered,” he said.
There have been other accolades and awards. Senior quarterback Mike McCarthy was named a Mayflower League Large all star after finishing the season with 41 touchdowns, 21 rushing and 20 through the air. He also ran for over 1,000 yards on the season.
McCarthy, who is also a member of the National Honor Society, was also named to the Boston Globe’s all-scholastic team and was nominated for the national Old Spice Red Zone Player of the Year award. The winner of that award will be honored in a full-page feature in USA Today in February.
Cody Brewer, Nick Gross, Matt Costello, and Fin Kaeka were also named Mayflower League Large all-stars.