For the first time in six years, the Island Cup is staying on the Vineyard.

In a battle of wills, the Vineyarders outlasted Nantucket 14-13 on Saturday, holding their rivals scoreless in the second half to secure victory.

With 54 seconds left and facing a fourth-and-eight on the Vineyard’s 33 yard line, the Whalers had to make a decision; either kick a 48-yard field goal to win it, or attempt another fourth down conversion. They opted to kick.

The Vineyard rumbles down the field for a score. — Jonathan Fleischmann

As the ball sailed high towards the uprights, everyone in the packed stadium held their breath. When it came down five yards short of the crossbar, the crowd erupted — a release of tension better measured on the Richter scale.

“It’s an amazing feeling,” said senior T.J. Lett, who scored both Vineyard touchdowns. “I’m just so proud of our guys, I told them I wanted them to fight every single play until the fourth quarter was over and they did exactly that. Every time they got the ball after we turned it over, we stopped them on defense. Every time. In the end, we stuck it out and came out with a dub. That’s all that matters,” he said.

Mr. Lett’s scores came in the second and third quarters. The first touchdown came after shedding numerous Nantucket defenders on a fourth-and-one run that he took 35 yards, coming up just short of Nantucket’s end zone. He then took a direct snap on the ensuing play and muscled it in for six points. His second score came after the Vineyard defense recovered a fumble at midfield, with the offense rumbling down the field to take the lead.

The Vineyard’s sophomore kicker Caio Guimaraes was two-for-two on extra points, proving to be the difference in the game. Nantucket missed their second extra point attempt after a false start pushed them back five yards.

Victory is a warm embrace. — Jonathan Fleischmann

On defense, senior Christian Turner anchored the Vineyard’s purple curtain at middle linebacker, while junior Chase Grant was a menace in the trenches.

“They persevered, the defense played great. The kids believe and they fought hard and I’m proud of them,” said Vineyard head coach Tony Motolla, who was coaching in his first Island Cup matchup.

“We haven’t been together that long and to play at the level that we needed to play to beat Nantucket, I was thrilled. We had a bend but don’t break attitude today but we’re thrilled to have the Cup back here,” the head coach said.

At halftime, the Vineyard trailed 13-7. Coach Motolla said their halftime adjustments proved key in their come from behind victory.

Island pride was on full display. — Jonathan Fleischmann

“I thought our kids adjusted very well to what we were trying to do. They played hard and ran to the ball. They forced a couple of turnovers and what more can I say? For being new to the Island and new to these kids, I’m just proud of them and proud they believe in what we’re trying to do here,” Coach Motolla said.

The football team wasn’t the only victor on Saturday as both the girls and boys soccer teams pulled out wins against Nantucket. The field hockey team also played the Whalers and almost held on to victory but ended up tying their rivals 1-1.

In the girls soccer game, the Vineyard triumphed 6-1 on goals from Emily Coogan and Elana Giordano, who each scored twice. Senior captains Josie Welch and C.J. Walsh both also beat Nantucket’s keeper.

Girls head coach Matt Malowski said his team focused on fishing scoring chances in practice this week, and enjoyed seeing his squad capitalize on breakaway opportunities Saturday. He also said his players stayed grounded, not letting the moment get the best of them.

“We had the same game plan but definitely, with all the emotions and having nine seniors, managing the end of the season fatigue and still keeping the intensity level up is the challenge this time of the season,” Mr. Malowski said. “They powered through and I think that’s where the emotion comes in great. The adrenaline was pumping.”

Girls soccer won big. — Ray Ewing

In the boys match, Nantucket matched the Vineyard’s intensity and both teams were held scoreless entering the half. But with precision passing and patience in the offensive zone, the Vineyard pulled away for three second-half goals and shut out Nantucket 3-0 for the win.

Kaio DaSilva scored twice and his brother Arthur also netted a goal after Kaio perfectly led him behind Nantucket’s keeper for the first goal of the game. Matheus Rodriques earned the shutout in net for the Vineyard.

John Walsh, the boys head coach, said Nantucket is always a tough opponent to play. With emotions running high, he said the game could have turned into trap, especially for a team on a back to back where they beat Cardinal Spellman on Friday 7-0.

“We did what we’ve done all season. We held them and made it really hard to play in the first half and then blew them out in the second half,” Coach Walsh said.

“You’re nil-all and maybe today’s the day you don’t turn it on in the second half and you lose or draw and those games happen,” he continued. “When you have special players like I’ve got this year, they take control of the game and make sure that doesn’t happen.”

Boys soccer team won 3-0. — Ray Ewing

With Falmouth’s 3-1 win over Nauset earlier this week, the Vineyard boys clinched the Cape and Islands league title. Now, both the boys and girls squads await tournament seeding set to be released upon the conclusion of the regular season on Monday. Both teams will likely have at least one home playoff game in the coming week.

For the field hockey team, their matchup against Nantucket was a welcome home after playing their last five games on the road. Sophomore Charlotte Scott put the Vineyard on the board first but Nantucket answered in the second quarter to bring about the tie.

Head coach Becky Nutton said even though they ended in a draw, the girls’ cumulative effort throughout the season showed on Saturday. She said she’s proud of how far they’ve come as a team.

“It felt like the peak playing performance of our season,” Coach Nutton said. “I feel like our fans haven’t seen how much we’ve developed in the last quarter of the season and this tends to happen. This program is one where the girls don’t start playing field hockey until they get to high school. For the most part, they pick up their sticks in the summer and we start to really click mid-way through our season and play the way we always knew they could play in the last quarter.”

The senior class is a special one for Coach Nutton because they were freshmen when she took over as head coach four years ago. Juliet Morse, Jocelyn Baliunas, Andrea Morse, Annabelle Brothers, Penelope Long, Alieen Mahoney, Alana Nevin and Geneveive Hyland will all be graduating next spring.

“They were absolutely the core and heart of our team,” the head coach said. “I started with them as freshmen, so it’s very meaningful for me. We spend a lot of hours together. They’re like your own children.”