Upper Cape Tech Football Suffers First Setback Of The Season
By: Dan Crowley
The Rams cut the lead to four points with 3:18 left to play in the fourth quarter Saturday but failed to recover the ensuing onside kick, allowing Holbrook/Avon a chance to run out the clock on UCT’s undefeated season.
The Bulldogs (6-1, 3-1 ML) dealt the Rams (8-1, 4-1 ML) a 34-30 defeat, their first of the season, in a game that will have Mayflower League Small championship ramifications. South Shore Voc Tech will enter the Thanksgiving Day schedule with an overall record of 4-6 but a 4-1 record in the league.
“As we stand right now, there is a three-way tie for first place between Upper Cape, South Shore Voc and Holbrook,”
Coach Mike Hernon said. “Holbrook still has a league game left with West Bridgewater while we and South Shore have finished league play. If Holbrook loses on Thanksgiving, we are in because we would own the head-to-head with South Shore. If Holbrook wins, it remains a three-way tie and goes to a coin flip. All three coaches flip a coin. Then the odd man is out and then it becomes a head-to-head situation so we would need Holbrook to be the odd man out in the flip.”
Holbrook scored on their opening drive on a 9-yard run to the right by sophomore quarterback Lucas Currier. The Rams then took the ball and, on their second play from scrimmage, quarterback Edgar Eldredge handed it to Jon Dumont who broke free on the right side, going 50 yards for the score. Dylan Derby then ran the two-point conversion up the middle for an 8-6 UCT lead with 7:17 left to play in the 10-minute opening quarter.
On their next possession the Bulldogs went 60 yards in seven plays to score again, this time on a 5-yard run to the right by Currier. Ben Riordan took the two-point conversion up the middle for a 14-8 Holbrook lead with 3:32 left in the first.
The Rams responded with a 63-yard, nine-play drive, scoring in the opening minute of the second quarter. The drive was kept alive by a third-and-10 pass play from Eldredge to Derby, setting up Liam Kanaley for a 6-yard scoring run. Dumont added the two-point conversion as UCT pulled in front, 16-14.
Before the end of the opening half, the Bulldogs found the end zone again as Riordan took the ball in from 3 yards out and then scored the two-point conversion. The Rams nearly punched in another in the final seconds of the half, but a pass to Kanaley at the goal line was broken up by Riordan as time expired, leaving the Bulldogs with a 22-16 halftime lead.
UCT struggled to contain Riordan in the opening half. With Currier a constant threat to run or pass and wide receivers George Duret and Mark Georges deep threats, the Ram defense had their hands full with the big, strong senior captain out of the backfield. Quick on his feet, with excellent vision, size and speed, Riordan often required more than one man to bring him down. He finished the day with 29 carriers for 255 yards, two touchdowns and two conversions.
Holbrook got the ball to open the second half and went on an 81-yard, 13-play drive that consumed 9:06 of the 10-minute third quarter. Riordan took the ball around the right side from 5 yards out for the TD but when he tried to run in the two-point conversion, Derby hit him hard, leaving the Bulldogs to settle for six points and a 28-16 advantage.
The Rams answered in four plays, beginning on their own 37-yard line with Eldredge pushing his way in from a yard out. Kanaley then ran in the two-point conversion, cutting the Holbrook lead to 28-24. With 8:51 left in the fourth, the Bulldogs started from midfield and used almost four minutes, going 50 yards in nine plays for another score and increasing their lead to 34-24.
Isaac Cardoso returned the Holbrook kickoff to the UCT 40-yard line and the Rams quickly marched up the field in four plays with Eldredge once again plunging in from a yard out. The two-point try failed, leaving UCT trailing, 34-30, with 3:18 remaining.
“I thought our guys played hard to the last whistle,” Coach Hernon said. “There were times in that second half when we went down by two scores late and it would have been easy to throw in the towel, but they never let up and they deserve a lot of credit for that. I think there are some plays that we as a team as well as myself as a coach wish we could have back, but I think that can be said in any close game where you come out on the wrong end of things. Regardless of how Holbrook’s Thanksgiving game turns out and whatever happens in the tiebreaker, these kids deserve all the accolades they have got for putting Upper Cape football on the map, and that is something no one can ever take away from them.”
The Rams will host the Cape Cod Tech Crusaders Thanksgiving morning at 10 AM. The Crusaders (1-8), who have struggled this season, picked up their first win of the year last week with a 38-22 triumph over Monomoy (1-2). CCT is averaging just over a touchdown per game while surrendering an average of 27.6 points per outing.
“Right now our focus needs to be on Cape Tech and Thanksgiving Day,” the coach added. “All the scenarios regarding the playoffs are out of our control right now so we are going to need to put that aside and keep working hard. Cape Tech has had a rough season but I don’t care what your record is—anything can happen on Thanksgiving Day. I have been around long enough and have seen it happen to a number of teams so that is the message we have to get across this week. It means something to play on that day and we will certainly be ready to go.”
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