It was an overtime thriller for the high school football team this week in its inaugural game in the Eastern Athletic Conference, while the field hockey battled both opponents and illness.
After winning by forfeit last week against Charlestown, the football team was eager to take to the gridiron at home this week against Coyle-Cassidy in what proved to be an exciting contest that went down to the wire on Friday night under the lights.
Under conference guidelines, the game had longer, 11-minute quarters. When the game was tied at 14-14 at the end of regulation play, the Vineyard team got to experience a new overtime format where both teams get the ball and a chance to score at their own 10-yard line.
Coyle-Cassidy took a 7-0 lead in the second quarter on a one-yard run by Jack Birmingham and an extra point by kicker Chris Preston. But the Vineyard answered right back, driving the length of the field and scoring on a touchdown run by Tyler Araujo. The Vineyard missed the extra point and trailed 7-6.
The Warriors added to their lead just before the half when quarterback Ryan Feeney hit Kyle Cachopa on a 35-yard pass to make it 14-6 at the break.
At the start of the second half Brian Montambault intercepted a pass at the Warriors’ 25-yard line, but the Vineyard was only able to advance the ball to the 10-yard line. In the fourth quarter quarterback Randall Jette hit slot receiver Josh Baker for a touchdown in the back of the end zone. Jette ran for the two-point conversion and the game was tied 14-14.
The Warriors won the coin toss and opted to play defense.
Coach Donald Herman had Araujo run the ball for three consecutive plays before he finally scored to make it 20-14. Jette then ran for the two-point conversion to give the Vineyarders a 22-14 advantage.
The Warriors followed with their own touchdown on a short pass from Feeney to Jay Doherty, but missed their two-point conversion when the running back fumbled the ball into the end zone and a Coyle player recovered the ball.
Under league rules, a player cannot fumble the ball forward into the end zone for a score; referees determined the two-point try had failed and the Vineyard won the game.
Araujo finished with 228 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries, while Jette threw for 85 yards and a touchdown.
Coach Donald Herman called it an exciting and grueling start to the Eastern Athletic Conference era.
“It was a long game . . . 44 minutes of hard play and then an overtime. But at the end our players were still standing tall, which is a sign of good conditioning. I think it was a good win for us. Hopefully it is something we can build on,” he said.
The Vineyard plays tomorrow at 1 p.m. at home against St. Marys of Lynn.
After playing three games in a row last week, the field hockey team this week was felled by illness. Two practices were cancelled; coach Lisa Knight said 40 of her 55 players are ill with ailments that range from stomach problems to upper respiratory illness.
“It’s just one of those things where a lot of the kids are having health problems at once. We don’t think it’s the flu, and we don’t think it’s an outbreak of anything bad. I just had a lot of players who aren’t feeling well, so I have given them some time off,” the coach said.
Last week the team played to a tie against division I powerhouse Somerset, dropped a hard-fought battle at Bishop Stang and won a tight game at Seekonk the next day 2-1.
The coach gave her team the weekend off, and when practice resumed on Monday she noticed the ranks were a little thin.
“I saw we were missing a lot of kids so I ended practice early [on Monday] . . . then the next day I checked the absentee list and I saw how many of my players [were ill]. When I called practice on Tuesday I asked for an honest show of hands to see who wasn’t feeling their best, and after that I sent them home,” she said.
With the support of athletic director Sandy Mincone, Wednesday practice was cancelled as well and a game this afternoon against Sandwich has been postponed.
The team record is 3-2-1.
The Vineyard golf team won its third match of the season on Tuesday against Somerset. Senior Grant McCarthy led the way with a one over par 37 in nine holes; he was followed by Alex Silverman, who shot a 42, Mike deBettencourt, who shot a 44, Corey Perotta, who shot a 44 and Chris Morris and Chris Davies, who each shot a 46.
“They are a young team, but they have improved beyond my expectations,” said Coach Doug DeBettencourt.
The team faces four matches in six days, against Coyle-Cassidy, Falmouth, Dennis-Yarmouth, and Bishop Feehan.
“I think we’re going to know a lot more about this team by [the end of] next week . . . but so far I am pleased with their effort. The players are regularly shooting between 40 and 45, and the team scores have been in the mid 250s. That is better than expected,” the coach he said.
In its first conference game this week, the boys shut out Somerset 4-0.
Coach Damon Burke said his team, which improved to 3-2-1 on the season with the win, passed the ball well and took advantage of scoring opportunities.
“We tried to concentrate on what we do well: spreading the ball out and attacking from the sides. And once again our freshmen really stepped it up,” he said.
Freshman Jack Roberts scored first, unassisted down the left side of the field.
Junior Augusto Nunes scored second on an assist from Leandro Trindade. After Somerset accidentally scored in their own goal, freshman Jacob Lawrence put one in late in the game on an assist from freshman Linycker Souza to wrap up the 4-0 win.
The team plays three road games on consecutive days against Westport, Bishop Stang and Bishop Feehan.
“We will get to know the Eastern Athletic Conference a lot better by the end of next week,” Coach Burke said.