The evening was cool and the sky a pale purple last Friday night at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School as football fans of all ages converged from every direction, walking in from various parking lots and seemingly from out of the woods to watch the first home game of the season. The air was filled with anticipation, as well as cheers, whistles, feet stomping, popcorn popping and the crunch of shoulder pads colliding out on the field.

Friday night football has returned.

Boys soccer team is still getting used to the loss of Jason Lages, stand out player who graduated last year. — Mark Lovewell

After a 14-6 loss against Carver High School the previous week, the Vineyarders entered the game against Nauset ready to embrace their home field advantage. But it was not to be. Despite a large crowd of high schoolers, parents, young children and alumni cheering them on, the team lost to Nauset, but not without a few stand-out plays. Zach Moreis made a 55-yard run early in the first quarter. Matteus Scheffer scored the team’s only touchdown and Moreis scored the extra point. Final score 18-8; Nauset over the Vineyard.

“We’re a very young team. We’re learning all new systems here,” said Coach Steve McCarthy about his mostly inexperienced group of players. Coach McCarthy is new to the team as well, taking over this year from longtime coach, Don Herman.

“Our strength is our team’s offensive line,” Mr. McCarthy said. “And our defense is getting better.”

The team’s captains are Lucus DeBettencourt, Colby Scarsella, Matteus Scheffer and Sam Rollins. Coach McCarthy said his goals simple. “Just get better and have fun and learn the game of football,” he said.

The next game is an away game against Coyle and Cassidy on Friday, Sept. 23.

McCarthy isn’t the only new coach on the field this fall. Devin Mara, a recent graduate of the University of Edinburgh, is the new coach of the cheerleading squad.

Vineyarders played Nauset in their first home game last Friday. — Mark Lovewell

“We’ve got a strong group of girls, many of them returning,” she said. With captains Kylie Hathaway and Kasey Stevenson and assistant coach Tammy Argie, the squad’s goal is to improve on the progress made by the previous coaches and to “improve the reputation of the squad,” Ms. Mara said. “We’re aiming to eventually become a competing squad and not just a sideline squad. Not this year but that’s the direction we’re going towards.”

At presstime, the girls soccer team, led by Coach Rocco Bellebuono, was 0-2-1. Two of those games were against Nauset, including both a loss and a tie.

“The fact that you can lose your first game six-nil, lose your second game five-nil and then play the team you just lost to and then tie, that’s pretty significant in itself,” Mr. Bellebuono said, noting the team’s resilience. The team’s captains are Cana Courtney, Whitney Schroeder, Livy Smith and Adelaide Keene. Danielle Pappas is assistant coach.

Coach Bellebuono’s philosophy of the game is instilled from the beginning. “I encourage them to be creative on the field, I encourage them to try new things and to manage themselves on the field, to make decisions for themselves on the field,” he said. “And I think that they really locked into that.”

The boys soccer team is having to adjust to playing without last year’s striker Jason Lages who scored 45 goals last season and is now playing for Assumption College. At presstime, the team stood at 0-3, but Coach Esteban Aranzabe is confident in his team, and in the young talent of Emmanuel Silva, a freshman who is already standing out. Coach Aranzabe said Silva’s promising performance so far is “really, really good.”

The team’s captains are Nevin Wallis, Joao Gonsalves, Owen Hess and Gabriel Bellebuono. The assistant coaches are Tom Rooney from Ireland, Ryan White from North Carolina and junior varsity assistant coach Rodrigo Honorato from Brazil.

Girls soccer plays Whitinsville Christian School at home on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. — Mark Lovewell

“Our goal is to win the league again,” Coach Aranzabe said. “Nothing is easy but it isn’t impossible either.”

Golf coach Doug DeBettencourt also wants to take his team all the way.

“We have a legitimate shot at the league title this year, and a shot to make it to the finals and the state tournament,” he said. Finn Simpkins is standing out, the team’s “consistent low scorer, with 34 in each of his last two matches,” Coach DeBettencourt said. Finn is a team captain, along with Chris Mayhew and Zak Danz. The assistant coach is Kyle Fiore.

Away from the greens and onto the track, the cross country team is lead by Coach Joe Schroeder with assistant coach Tara Nitardy. The boys won their first meet of the year against Falmouth. The girls didn’t compete in the first match because five players couldn’t be gathered due to injuries. But in a match against Falmouth, three girls placed in the top six.

“It’s early in the season,” Coach Schroeder said. “We have some returning kids that have come back and have done pretty well.”

Girls captain Pearl Vercruysse and returning runner Otto Osmers were identified as strong competitors as well as Aivaras Gedvilas, captain of the boys team. “We’ll look to him as our leader,” Coach Schroeder said of Gedvilas.

Coach Schroeder also noted the team aspect of a sport known for its individual glory. “Of course one person crosses the finish line first but if your team’s not working together on the course, you won’t be as successful,” he said.

The field hockey team, coached by Lisa Knight, is off to a fine start. The

girls tied Bishop-Stang which “is a good tie for us,” Coach Knight said, referring to the strength of their opponent.

Coach Knight’s captains are Julia Hart and Kylie Hatt. Her co-leaders, as she calls them, are Beth O’Connor and Kaylea Moore, both of whom played for Ms. Knight in high school, and Susan Hughes.

“It’s important that we’re all in this together,” she said of her three-person leadership team. “We have 22 freshmen playing and it’s good to have the extra eyes.”

As the fall sports season continues, with a variety of talent in all arenas and the Eastern Athletic Conference on the horizon, Athletic Director Mark McCarthy looks on with a fan’s eyes.

“It’s going to be fun to watch,” he said.