Pavel Dzemianok / For the Boston Globe
For the second straight Friday night White Stadium had a thriller underneath its lights.
Brighton and Martha’s Vineyard put on a show a week after Latin Academy and Madison Park scored a combined four TDs in the last two minutes before the Dragons scored with no time on the clock to win, 22-20.
This time, Martha's Vineyard snatched a 45-38 victory out of Brighton’s hands after scoring with no time left in the third quarter to tie the game at 30. Then the Vineyard scored two more times in the final quarter to take the win back to its island.
“Brighton is a very athletic team, a very talented team,” Martha’s Vineyard coach Donald Herman said. “I can’t help but think if this were not their first game, the outcome might be a bit different. This is our third game, this is their first." The Bengals, 1-1, won on a forfeit last week.
“They came out of the blocks early. I knew they were going to and we talked about trying to match their intensity and we didn’t in the first quarter in particular. But we responded. We got the job done. Big win,” Herman said.
After trailing, 22-8 at the half, the Vineyarders (2-1) capped a 22-point third quarter with a 34-yard TD pass from senior quarterback Alec Tattersall (7 of 14 passing for 113 yards) to Brandon Watkins to tie the game at 30. Then the Vineyard opened the Tattersall’s 13-yard touchdown pass to Stuart Hersh to go up 7 points.
Brighton responded with a 27-yard TD pass from junior Jalen Apperwhite to senior Malique Holley. Holley caught the 2-point conversion pass too for a 38-37 lead with 5:49 left in the game.
“There wasn’t any communication on the field,” Holley said of the defensive letdown after his go-ahead TD. “We had to stick together and we didn’t stick together.”
A facemask penalty on the start of the Vineyard’s next drive hurt Brighton. The nine-play drive ended with Tattersall’s QB keeper with 1:56 left, which turned out to be the winner because the Vineyard recovered the onside kick at the Brighton 41.
“It’s just really a team effort, we really work together,” said Doug Andrade, who recovered the onside kick for the Vineyard and also scored a touchdown on a 49-yard run to make it 22-15 in the third quarter. “It’s not the small plays, it’s the big plays that count; a few big plays make the difference.”
Brighton had plenty of big plays of its own.
Senior running back Ricardo Edwards returned the game's opening kickoff 90 yards before running in the 2-point conversion to go up, 8-0.
After Vineyard punted on its first possession, Edwards added a 45-yard TD run on the second play of the Bengals' drive. Apperwhite hit Holley on the 2-point conversion pass to go up, 16-0, with 7:30 left in the first quarter.
“We started slacking on defense,” said Edwards, who finished the game with three touchdowns and 143 yards on nine carries. “The offensive line was doing good and everything making the plays work. It’s just defense. We gotta work harder.
“It’s really tough because this is our first game and when your first game is a loss it makes you feel like you didn’t work hard enough to be successful.”
It was also first-year Brighton coach Randolph Abraham’s first time on the sideline as the head man.
“I feel like we were out-coached,” Abraham said. “I just didn’t have any answers for Martha’s Vineyard’s offense. That’s a great coach over there and we respect them. We tried to put the kids in the right place, but they just kept finding the open guy. We tried to put pressure up front because we were missing so many tackles and they always found the open guys.
“I told the kids I’ll take that loss.”
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