After two weeks of frustrating league losses, the Vineyard football team picked up a clutch 18-7 win Friday night in the homecoming match against Coyle and Cassidy. Sophomore Jacob Cardoza scored the winning touchdown with a minute and a half left in the game.
The win was all the more the impressive considering the injury-plagued state of the Vineyard squad: seven players were out, including several starters.
Tony Breth looks for an open man.
— Ivy Ashe
Senior back Joe Turney rushed for the first touchdown with just over three minutes left in the first quarter, after a Coyle punt gone wrong ended up one yard short of the Vineyard end zone. The extra point attempt was no good.
Coyle evened the score late in the third quarter after a long pass up the middle by quarterback Tristen Blaisdell. The Warriors made their extra point, putting them ahead 7-6.
The Vineyard defense, led by seniors Andrew Jacobs-Walsh and Aaron Lowe, held off further Coyle strikes. The offense, led by Turney, Cardoza, senior quarterback Tony Breth and senior Spencer Schofield, had several chances to push the team ahead, but proved to be their own worst enemy.
Friday Night lights - cheerleaders perform at halftime.
— Ivy Ashe
“Like I told the kids [after the game], we did our best to lose today,” head coach Donald Herman said. “There were so many plays, big plays that we had, and they got called back on penalties, on mistakes.”
“But to their credit,” he continued, “We made the plays at crunch time when we needed to.”
And with the clock ticking in the final three minutes of the game and the Warriors in possession of the ball, Jacobs-Walsh sacked Blaisdell to put Coyle at 4th and 13, forcing a turnover. The Vineyard took the ball at midfield, and two carries by Turney set the stage for Cardoza’s game-winning 34-yard touchdown run.
Paul Robinson (81) celebrates after Joe Turney's touchdown run.
— Ivy Ashe
The team then recovered the ball on an interception, and Turney rushed eight yards for his second touchdown of the game on the next play, surprising even Coach Herman.
“We weren’t actually trying to score on the last one. I was just trying to run the clock,” he said. With the score now 18-7, the Vineyard closed the books on the win after senior Aaron Wilson made an interception, sending the crowd and players into wild cheers.
Attempts to give Coach Herman and assistant coach Jason O’Donnell a celebratory water cooler dousing were unsuccessful.
Friday’s game could be the final home contest of the season for the senior players—the class of 2014 was honored prior to kickoff—as the Vineyard is waiting to learn if they have made the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletics Assocaition playoffs. The team needed a win against Coyle in order to qualify, but is also relying on the results of two other weekend games. The Vineyard finished the regular season with a 3-4 record.
Coach Herman said the players dedicated Friday’s game to assistant coach Bill Belcher, who recently had a stroke. Mr. Belcher is well on his way to recovery, Coach Herman said.
“We’re going to give him the game ball when he gets back.”