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Vineyard loses home opener 18-8 to Nauset in thriller
Football team shows great performance but no victory in home opener

By Jack Shea – Sep 18, 2016

Lucas Debettencourt, number 78, tackles a Nauset player. -Stacey Rupolo
The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) football team lost 18-8 to Nauset Regional High School in a thriller on Friday night in the Vineyarders’ 2016 home opener at Dan McCarthy Field in Oak Bluffs.

After the Warriors enlarged their 6-0 halftime lead to a 12-0 lead on their first possession in the second half, Vineyarder senior running back Ennis Foster rumbled in on a short-yardage carry to cut the margin to 12-6. Moments later, MVRHS junior quarterback Zach Moreis scored on a two-point try to make the score 12-8.

Ennis Foster, number 10, runs with the ball during the first quarter of a game against Nauset on Friday. -Stacey Rupolo
Ennis Foster, number 10, runs with the ball during the first quarter of a game against Nauset on Friday. -Stacey Rupolo
Nauset scored on a six-play fourth-quarter drive with 3:52 left to play in the contest to seal the victory.

A full house, sitting under a full moon, was treated to a harmonious rendition of the national anthem by MVRHS Minnesingers, and a game full of big plays by both teams. They saw the emergence of a Vineyarder passing game between Mr. Moreis and receivers James Sashin and Ennis Foster that produced 91 yards to complement 185 yards rushing.

Mr. Moreis had 96 net rushing yards, Mr. Foster had a tough 31 rushing yards on 10 carries, adding 30 more receiving yards to join Jame Sashin (three catches for 61 yards) as lefty junior quarterback Moreis’s favorite targets.

With the win, Nauset moves to 2-0 and the Vineyarders slide to 0-2 on the season. The Vineyarders play next Friday night at Coyle and Cassidy High School in their first Eastern Athletic Conference matchup.

Prior to kickoff, the Vineyarders honored former MVRHS four-year football player U.S. Army Specialist Marcus Hopkins (MVRHS 2010), a recent recipient of the U.S. Army Commendation Medal. Spc. Hopkins was also named honorary co-captain and joined co-captains Cody Scarsella, Lucas Debettencourt, Sam Rollins, and Matteus Scheffer for the midfield coin toss, won by the Vineyarders.

James Sashin catches the ball before being tackled by a Nauset player. -Stacey Rupolo
James Sashin catches the ball before being tackled by a Nauset player. -Stacey Rupolo
The Vineyarders came out of the gate fast, marching from their own 20 to the Nauset one-yard line courtesy of a 55-yard scamper by Mr. Moreis and a 26-yard money catch by Mr. Sashin on a fourth-down play. Mr. Ennis pushed his way to the one-yard line before Nauset defense ended the threat, taking over on downs.

That series, while unsuccessful, defined the capabilities of this young Vineyarder squad, first-year Coach Steve McCarthy said after the contest. “This is the kind of team we can be. Once this team clicks, it’s going to show we can do this. We have good athletes on the field. It’s a matter of confidence, experience, and repetition. We’re young and we’re learning how to finish,” Coach McCarthy said.

“They never gave up, and that’s what we asked of them. We made some mistakes that hurt us, but these kids are learning quickly,” he said.

The Vineyarders faced a special challenge on Friday night. The Warrior team is coached by former NFL head coach Mike Sherman (Green Bay Packers), whose charges ran a sophisticated and balanced offense (193 rushing, 190 running yards). Nauset senior dropback quarterback Travis Van Vleck led their defense, and all-purpose junior running back Isaiah Honeycutt contributed his talent for misdirection and reading line gaps from his deep set in the backfield.

MVRHS football coach Steve McCarthy stands with his team before their first home game of the season against the Nauset Warriors on Friday night. -Stacey Rupolo
MVRHS football coach Steve McCarthy stands with his team before their first home game of the season against the Nauset Warriors on Friday night. -Stacey Rupolo
The Vineyarders are a work in progress, but they were not outplayed in this one. They were hurt by two fumbles and several costly penalties that ended drives. Their defensive performance was solid on Friday, and the defender’s upside potential is substantial. Defensive end Lucas Debettencourt had eight and a half tackles and a half-sack, Matteus Scheffer (anointed the Hudl.com player of the game) had six tackles and a half-sack, and Mr. Foster had three tackles.

The Vineyarders often run a rollout option system, with Mr. Moreis still learning when to option rather than keep. “Remember, this is just his second game [at quarterback], and he is getting more comfortable with the system, learning when to option. He’s seeing it on film,” Coach McCarthy said.