The coveted silver trophy is back on the Island, with the Vineyard football team defeating Nantucket 14-0 in the annual Island Cup.
It was a low-scoring game at Vito Capizzo Stadium on Nantucket, but a vocal crowd of Vineyard fans were on hand to watch the Vineyarders shut out the Whalers.
The only points of the game came in the first quarter, when the Vineyarders got off to a quick lead after less than three minutes. After a handoff by quarterback Tony Breth, sophomore running back Jacob Cardoza rushed for 78 yards to score a touchdown, and the Vineyard had a 6-0 lead. The extra point attempt was no good as Nantucket blocked the kick.
With less than a minute left in the first quarter, Cardoza scored another touchdown with another handoff from Breth. The Vineyard were successful on a two-point conversion.
The rest of the game remained scoreless.
In the third quarter, the Vineyard had possession of the ball for much of the time. In the fourth quarter, senior defensive back Joe Turney stopped a Nantucket drive on an interception. This put the ball back in Vineyard hands, and the team consistently kept the ball when they had it.
As the clock wound down, players celebrated by dumping the water cooler on coach Don Herman.
The Vineyard and Nantucket will both end their seasons with a 5-6 record. But the Vineyard has taken the lead in the Island Cup series, 18-17, and has now won the Island Cup for 10 years in a row.
Vineyard fans and supporters joined the team in traveling to Nantucket on a the Steamship Authority ferry Nantucket.
Arriving in Vineyard Haven Saturday night, the team received a hero's welcome. A row of ambulances and fire trucks sounded their horns and flashed their lights while a crowd gathered at the terminal, phones and cameras at the ready. The team marched off the boat to loud cheers, with a purple Vineyard flag waving and the cup held aloft.
Earlier in the day, the junior varsity team ended their season with a 8-8 tie with the Whalers.
Downtown Nantucket was decorated with Christmas trees and blue and white balloons. The temperature at game time was a crisp 36 degrees.