The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School football team remains undefeated after a rainy, windy and sometimes sloppy Friday night home opener against South Shore Vocational Tech.
Senior standout Randall Jette followed his 192-yard, five-touchdown rushing performance against Coyle-Cassidy with his first passing touchdown of the season, a 19-yard laser to T.J. Vangervan to help seal the 20-6 victory. Strong rushing performances by Brian Montambault and Chris Costello put the game away on a night in which both teams struggled against the elements.
With driving sheets of rain and a waterlogged field, both teams emphasized the ground attack and the Vineyarders struck first. After a 13-yard run by Brian Montambault, Jette stole the show with a dazzling 41-yard option keeper up the sideline.
On the other side of the ball the staunch Vineyard defense resembled Minnesota’s purple people eaters of the 1960s and 1970s, stuffing South Shore with every handoff. After a botched snap to start the second quarter the Vineyard recovered and took over on the South Shore 37. On the first play Jette rolled out and fired a 25-yard strike to Costello, who tiptoed down the sidelines. After a subsequent South Shore interference penalty in the end zone the Vineyarders faced a first and goal from the two yard line. On the next play Costello was stuffed in a run up the middle on first down, followed by a fumbled snap that Jette recovered on the 19 on second down. Facing a third and long, the Vineyarders almost squandered the golden opportunity before Jette dropped deep and fired a bullet over the middle to Mangervan, who dragged two defenders with him into the end zone.
On the next possession, after yet another Vineyard botched snap and missed extra point, South Shore was rebuffed again despite the best efforts of running back Nick Beckwith, who scampered for a 30-yard gain. South Shore was stifled on third and eight when Vineyarder Delmont Araujo tackled the South Shore quarterback for a loss of 15.
South Shore came out of the half rejuvenated and their coach began to call plays with all the gutsy imprudence of a caffeinated Madden Xbox player, going for it on fourth down twice, including on a fourth and goal from the four yard line that Beckwith punched in. After South Shore was stuffed on a two-point conversion by Brian Montambault and Dhonathan Lemos the rain cleared out for the fourth quarter. The teams continued to trade possessions, while South Shore continued its brazen play calling, including another successful fourth and four call at its own 30.
South Shore’s luck finally ran out on yet another fourth down attempt, this from their own 30, which was rebuffed with 2:23 to go.
The game was effectively put out of reach when the Vineyarders took over. Chris Costello rammed through the defensive line on the three yard line for the game’s final score with 1:32 to go.
Coach Don Herman had a typically frank critique. “We weren’t able to take advantage of turnovers as well as I would have liked. We need to be able to put teams away but we’re still a very young team,” he said, adding: “Defensively I thought we played very well.”
Three days before Tom Brady would collect the 100th win of his career, the Vineyard’s own Coach Herman inched closer to 200 with win number 199. His next shot for the double century mark comes in two weeks, after a rare bye week. On Oct. 15 the Vineyarders play Somerset in a crucial league game against an opponent that drubbed them 20-0 in last year’s contest.
What will win number 200 feel like? “I’ll let you know when I get there,” he said.