Mashpee, Sandwich Renew Thanksgiving Day Football Rivalry
By: Rich Maclone
Mashpee and Sandwich high schools announced this week that the two schools will once again become Thanksgiving Day football opponents. The two programs played against one another from 1997 to 2002 before severing ties and going separate ways. This week MHS Athletic Director Mike Horne and Sandwich High School AD Marty Cosgrove, along with football coaches Matt Triveri, of MHS, and Bill Luette, of SHS, came to terms to renew the rivalry.
All parties involved agreed that the move to play one another helps put more emphasis on Cape Cod football teams playing one another in meaningful games. “I think it’s great for both schools, for both communities. It’s good for building interest in local football and great for the fans,” Cosgrove said. “Playing Mashpee on Thanksgiving Day will bring more meaning and excitement to the game. We were always treated great by Bishop Feehan, but we really had nothing in common. This will make for a truly great Thanksgiving Day game.”
This past year marked the first time that the Blue Knights and Falcons had played one another during the regular season since 2002. On September 18 the Falcons won perhaps the most memorable game of the 2009 season on Cape Cod, as they beat the Blue Knights with a last-second Hail Mary pass to take a 6-0 decision.
While the Falcons and Blue Knights had not played during the season against one another, Luette and Triveri have had a strong working relationship over the past few years, and the teams have scrimmaged regularly during the preseason. Coach Triveri said that his team’s ability to prepare for the season against a team like Sandwich has paid off. Mashpee has been one of the top South Shore League teams for three years in a row, competing for the league championship each season.
Luette said that he is quite excited about the prospect of renewing the rivalry with his friend Triveri. “Matt has done an awesome job with that program. It will mean more to the kids to play Mashpee on Thanksgiving Day. We respect each other, and this is great for both teams and both towns. This keeps rivalries right here on the Cape. Anything can happen anytime we play. I think Marty Cosgrove did a great job helping to set this up. It is going to be great for both programs and a great way to end the season.”
Mashpee originally ended the rivalry because the Falcons felt they were outmatched by the much bigger neighboring school. MHS won the first varsity contest between the two teams, but then suffered three straight lopsided losses. The one-sided scores, and some personal issues, led to the severing of ties at that time. Mashpee would eventually come to terms with Cape Tech/Harwich for Thanksgiving games, a match-up that the Falcons have dominated. Sandwich squared off with Bishop Connolly for three seasons before moving on to face Bishop Feehan. Both athletic directors agreed that none of those situations was ideal and that the one that made the most sense was the original pairing of Mashpee and Sandwich.
Coach Triveri has no doubt that his team will be competitive with the Blue Knights. Still he is guarded about overall expectations for the future. “I know that a lot of people wanted this,” Triveri said. “People forget that there’s a reason that we dropped them, and that’s because we were getting embarrassed every year.”
Triveri, who was named the New England Patriots High School Coach Of The Week after his Falcons stunned Sandwich back in September, said he doesn’t foresee games that end in blowouts. “We’ll be competitive with them, no doubt about it,” he said.
Horne said that the biggest long-term concern for Mashpee is that the school is about half of the size of Sandwich, and it does not look like those numbers will change any time soon. Sandwich has a much larger pool to draw athletes from. “We still understand that Sandwich has an enrollment of 1,000 and ours is dropping (and about 525 students). We understand the challenge of playing a school that is twice as big as we are...We only had 27 kids dress for Thanksgiving this year (against Cape Tech), and Sandwich had about 80.”
Horne said details are still being worked out between the two athletic departments over the game details. He said he hopes that Mashpee will host the first year, since the Falcons visited Sandwich this year, but said an announcement on that will be made in the future.
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