It is easier to be philosophical when the winners are celebrating across the Sound with the Island Trophy, but there were good signs in the Vineyard's performance against Nantucket on Saturday.

The 38-14 Whalers victory at Memorial Field on Nantucket assured them' a slot in the Division 5 superbowl and a 10-0 season. Yes, they are fast and big and the defensive line was relentless, but Martha's Vineyard is one of only two teams to score more than 8 points against them all year.

Only Cape Cod Tech managed 14 points facing Nantucket. Four teams were shut out by the Whalers, who had outscored opponents 249-40 going into Saturday's game.

Consider that a team minus six key players and down 31 points put together a 70-yard scoring drive in the final minutes of the game. Consider that the final Vineyard touchdown was scored by freshman Jason Tillman, who played in the junior varsity bout and was called in because there were no varsity players left on the bench.

It doesn't take a stretch of the imagination to see that as a good sign. Martha's Vineyard is a very young team, and from the sidelines it is clear these players work together, even if it is by helping each other with their crutches.

In the first three minutes it looked like the miracle could happen. The Vineyard recovered a punt return dropped by Chris Frame. The Vineyard quarterback, sophomore Jason Dyer, found classmate Albie Robinson in the end zone on a fourth-down pass. Adam Natusch kicked it dead between the posts to make it 7-0 Martha's Vineyard.

But Robinson caught the ball in the corner of the end zone, crashing his knee on the corner post. By the second half he was out of the game.

Seconds after the Vineyard score Nantucket's Frame redeemed himself and returned the kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown. Peter Hedden kicked the extra point to tie the game.

Nantucket scored again with 1:07 left in the first quarter. Dee Barrows, the 215-pound Nantucket fullback, took a handoff and high stepped 27 yards into the end zone. Senior captain Barrows may be big but he's quick. He was a constant threat through the afternoon. The extra point make it 14- 7 at the end of the first quarter.

Dyer threw the first of three interceptions on the next set of downs. Frame was there again and Nantucket senior Hedden caught a 28-yard pass to put the home team on the board again. Then he kicked the extra point to boot: 21-7.

They scored again in the first half with senior Chris Ryder diving over the line.

Nantucket senior Shane Sweck ran short yards in the third quarter for 6 more plus the extra point. In the fourth Hedden kicked a tremendous 38-yard field goal to make it 38-7.

Dyer worked hard behind the Vineyard line and was forced to scramble on virtually every play. He showed great composure for a sophomore despite three sacks and three interceptions.

"They have all the weapons in all the right places. We knew what to expect and we still couldn't stop them," coach Donald Herman said after the game.

"It was not quite what I had in mind but we are young we only have four seniors and we had subs in for subs. Not to take anything away from Nantucket. They are a powerful team," he said.

He recalled the Nantucket super-bowl victory of 1980 and promised a good game. At press time it was not yet decided if Nantucket will face Lowell or South Boston at Boston University on Dec. 1.

For the time being Coach Capizzo was content to enjoy the return of the Island Trophy.

"I love to beat those grapes," he said.