Mashpee To Host Sandwich In Thanksgiving Day Clash
By: Rich Maclone
Thanksgiving Day football offers every team that plays on the holiday a chance to end the season on a high note. Regardless of the type of year that a club has had, winning on Thanksgiving helps make the offseason have a better feel to it, and brings a lift to all involved with the victory. Losing, on the other hand, makes the turkey taste dry and the potatoes lumpy. It leaves a bad taste.
After a season that has been one of highs and lows for the Blue Knights, the visiting team at Falcon Stadium next Thursday would like nothing more than to end their year with a win. Sandwich began the season running hot, winning four of their first five, with the lone loss during that stretch coming at the hands of the state’s top-ranked team, Barnstable.
A 24-22 victory over Marshfield, on a last-second Knights’ field goal, had Sandwich denizens feeling pretty good about the program, and where it was headed in 2012.
Then everything went south in a hurry, starting with a loss to Plymouth South, the eventual Atlantic Coast League champs. With running back Dylan Oxsen, who is probably the ACL’s MVP for the year, leading the way, the Panthers rolled to a 49-14 win.
Things went from bad to worse the following week. Quarterback Zack Wagner went down with a foot injury against Falmouth in the first half, and the Clippers rallied to score two fourth quarter touchdowns on their way to their first win of the year, an 18-13 decision at Fuller Field.
With Wagner on the shelf, Sandwich’s downward spiral continued as they were decimated the following two weeks, losing 31-0 to Cohasset and then 34-6 to Nauset, both at home.
Wagner returned to the fold for the Knights last week, and Sandwich gave its best effort in weeks. The Blue Knights came painfully close to pulling off a win over Dennis-Yarmouth on the road. Nick Tierney and Mark Peterson scored early touchdowns to give SHS a 12-0 lead, but D-Y rallied back to tie the score by halftime.
D-Y surged ahead in the third quarter, but a pass from Wagner to Brian Millhan in the fourth quarter knotted the score late, 19-19. D-Y ran back the ensuing kickoff 73 yards to provide the difference.
Mashpee Head Coach Matt Triveri isn’t putting a whole lot of weight on the Knights’ losing streak heading into their holiday showdown. The Falcons’ head coach believes that Sandwich is more than capable of beating his club, and that SHS will play this game as if it is a Super Bowl.
“It’s going to be a difficult game for us,” Triveri said. “We’ve given up seven touchdowns through the air in the last two games, and they can throw the ball. They have Wagner back, and last week they had D-Y on the ropes.”
Triveri said that Sandwich’s receiving corps is one of his team’s main focuses defensively this week, and that they present a difficult match-up. “We’re going to have issues with their receivers, and they do a lot of different things. They’ll run spread, double wing, trips, tight end wing; a lot of different formations...they’re impressive to watch.”
With the Falcons missing out on the postseason, after winning it all a year ago, Triveri said that his team will put all of its focus on ending the year on a high note. Mashpee would like to finish another season with at least eight wins, and to do that they’ll need to win this one.
“Obviously, we’re putting everything into winning this game. It’s the last game for our seniors, and they want to go out with a win, and it’s just better for everyone when you can end a season with a win, on a high note,” Triveri said.
Mashpee will most likely test the Sandwich line throughout the game and make them find a way to slow down the Falcons’ strong running game. Running backs Jared Taylor and Malik Lee are both aiming for 1,000 yards in rushing for the season and can both eclipse that number with strong games against Sandwich.
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