Heartbreak came late for the Vineyard football team on Friday night. After a defensive showcase that led to a scoreless regulation game, the Vineyard fell in triple overtime to visiting Eastern Athletic Conference opponent Bishop Feehan, 9-6. The team is now 1-3.
The Vineyard had several scoring opportunities throughout the game, but ultimately could not move the ball into the end zone, a struggle that has plagued the squad since its first contest of the season.
“That’s the difference in a ball game,” head coach Donald Herman summed up.
In 26 years of coaching Vineyard football, Coach Herman has seen only three games go into overtime. The first was during an Island Cup match against Nantucket, in 1996, which the Vineyard ultimately lost. The team then won in overtime in 2009 against Coyle and Cassidy.
But neither of the former two games was pushed to triple overtime. The Vineyard defense stifled Feehan throughout regulation, with senior Tony Canha and Andrew Jacobs-Walsh notching 12 and 11 tackles, respectively. Senior Lochland Chimes and sophomore Andrew DiMattia each had a sack, while senior Kyle Stobie and sophomore Austin Chandler had key fumble recoveries. Chandler’s recovery, late in the fourth quarter, gave the Vineyard a final chance at scoring before the clock hit zero. Wth 10 seconds left in regulation, the Vineyarders went for a field goal but missed. Overtime began with the score standing at 0-0.
The clock stops in overtime during high school games, and scoring is determined by possessions. The Vineyard took first possession after winning a coin toss, and earned its lone touchdown after a seven-yard pass from junior quarterback Mike Mussell, who was playing with an injured thumb, to senior back Joe Turney, The two-point conversion attempt failed. On Feehan’s possession, however, the Shamrocks scored on the very first play to even the score at 6-6. Their extra point attempt was no good, moving the game into double overtime.
Neither team managed a score in the second iteration. On the Vineyard’s third possession, Mussell’s pass to senior safety DeShawn James on fourth and goal was incomplete, with James was caught in double coverage.
Feehan’s final drive pushed them within field goal range, at which point kicker Brendan Mulligan sealed the game for the Shamrocks.
Coach Herman said that all things considered, the Vineyard showed improvement, but would have to find a way to close in the end zone.
“We played well enough to win this ball game,” he said.
The Vineyard continues league play next Friday with an away game against Bishop Stang.
Retired boys’ tennis coach Ned Fennessy was honored during halftime for his contributions to the tennis program, which include two back-to-back state titles and one undefeated season. Coach Fennessy headed the program for 23 years. The tennis team’s latest title, earned this past June, came after school had ended for the year; athletic director Mark McCarthy said the halftime recognition was a way to celebrate the team and Coach Fennessy before the student body.