The Vineyarders should have known better. No one eats whale meat anymore, and they couldn't change that Saturday on Nantucket.

More than 500 Vineyard fans chanted: "What do we eat? - Whale meat," as the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School football team lost to its Whaler rivals, 14-0.

It was the Vineyarders first shut-out loss of the season and the final game. It added an eighth win to Nantucket's boastful record and gave them the Mayflower League title and the Island trophy. The trophy has only left Nantucket once in the past ten years, when the Vineyard took it in 1985,12-2.

Alison Shaw

But there was no shame for the Vineyard, whose defensive line held the Whalers back throughout the second half of the game, and no shame in the season which ended on an even keel with five wins and five losses.

The Vineyard's junior varsity team fared no better Saturday, losing 20-0 in a morning game.

“It was a fair game, as good as officiated game as I've found, but we just kept coming up short,” said coach Donald Herman. Louis Paciello, Brian Deese, Andre Vega and Eric Levesque trampled the Whalers with 25 tackles all told. No touchdowns got past the Vineyard after the Whalers added six points just before half-time. But the ball did not slip past the Whalers either.

A 10-yard holding penalty against Christopher Carroll in the second quarter pulled the Vineyarders back from the 20-yard line. Coach Herman said it was the only one of four penalties which dramatically affected the outcome.

In the fourth quarter, the Vineyarders had a first down on the 12-yard line but came up short.

Late in the fourth quarter with less than a yard to go, the quarterback sneak failed the Vineyard, sealing their fate.

The fans kept preparing themselves for a touchdown, but they could not will the scoreboard to change. Brightly colored banners and signs and purple and white pom-poms flailed the air each time the Vineyarders approached the end zone.

Morris, full back Louis Paciello's bulldog, watched attentively from the sidelines. His purple and white handmade sweater announced his allegiance.

"He's the unofficial mascot," Louis's mother Barbara Paciello said from the other end of the leash. "He goes to all the games." Nonetheless he got booted from the first-class lounge of the boat on the voyage over.

Quarterback Todd Araujo returned from the ranks of the injured for a stellar performance, and offensive lineman Jon Averill played with a broken hand, suffered in practice the Tuesday before the game. Following the game graduating senior Brian Deese was treated for badly torn tendons in his hand.

“I think the fact that they both played through the entire game in spite of their injuries attests to the strength of the rivalry,” coach Herman said.

Because of the torn tendons, Mr. Deese carried the ball only twice during the game. In last week's game against Tri-County, he had gained 126 yards for the team.

The Whalers kept away from Mr. Deese, giving Andre Vegas a record number of tackles. Coach Herman said Mr. Deese will be sorely missed next season.

The Vineyarders are losing seven spectacular seniors to graduation this spring, and tight end Derek Lewis, who is a junior, is moving.

"We have a good nucleus coming back in skilled positions next year," coach Herman said. Two leading rushers who are juniors will return. Full back Louis Paciello and Todd Araujo scored 17 touchdowns this season. They are both juniors.

"But we have a lot of work to do starting now. What we do from now until August will determine how well we do next season," coach Herman said. For the first time the team will work out with weights during the offseason.