They haven’t played together in 50 years, but tonight the members of the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School’s first football team will come together from as far away as Florida and as near as Oak Bluffs to attend a dinner at the high school before the Island Cup game tomorrow.
High school athletic director Mark McCarthy, whose late father was the coach of that team, has organized the event.
The Island’s oldest and youngest high school football teams met, not for a match but for a meal last Friday night at the school cafeteria. Nineteen members of the 1960 team met the 2010 team before the big Saturday game with Nantucket. Add to that six members of the 1960 cheerleaders, who also shared stories with the current squad.
On Saturday, after two years of frustration and delay, Nantucket finally came back across the Muskeget Channel and down the placard-lined mean streets of Oak Bluffs to rekindle a rivalry that, simply by geography, is unlike any other in sports. It was worth the wait.
Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School quarterback Randall Jette walked off the practice field in the brisk fall air on Wednesday night after a hard practice that ran until almost 7 p.m. under the lights in preparation for tonight’s pivotal league game against Somerset at home. “Friday night is our Super Bowl,” Jette said.
Last year the Vineyarders lost 20-0 to Somerset and Jette is candid about what went wrong. “Me,” he said.
The game is back. Every fall on the Island the leaves turn red and fall to the ground, scallopers take to Island ponds, and the V’s and W’s line up across from each other on the gridiron the week before Thanksgiving to add a new chapter to The Rivalry. Then, all of a sudden last year, they didn’t. The dead leaves might as well have clung to their branches. After the ensuing round of finger-pointing and resentment subsided the Game is back on the schedule.
The scouting reports are in and Whaler Pride is back. The last Nantucket team the Vineyard faced finished the season 0-10, capped by an embarrassing 43-22 Island Cup thrashing that saw Vineyard coach Don Herman pull most of his starters by halftime.
The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School football team remains undefeated after a rainy, windy and sometimes sloppy Friday night home opener against South Shore Vocational Tech.
Senior standout Randall Jette followed his 192-yard, five-touchdown rushing performance against Coyle-Cassidy with his first passing touchdown of the season, a 19-yard laser to T.J. Vangervan to help seal the 20-6 victory. Strong rushing performances by Brian Montambault and Chris Costello put the game away on a night in which both teams struggled against the elements.
Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School football coach Don Herman expected his 200th win to be a private accomplishment. “I never mentioned anything to my players,” he said in an interview in his office at the high school on Wednesday. But last Thursday as the coach walked off the practice field he was amused to hear the team break from its huddle. “Two hundred!” they shouted.
The Vineyard girls’ varsity soccer team has faced tough nonleague competition in its first matches of the season, most recently dropping matches to the mainland powerhouses of North Plymouth and Barnstable.