Sandwich Falls Short At Marshfield
By: Dan Crowley
Taking over at quarterback, Ben Downey lobbed a five-yard strike to Matt Leeman, capping a five-play opening drive just 2:35 into the first quarter to put the Blue Knights on the scoreboard at Marshfield Friday night. Sandwich (2-7, 0-5 ACL) missed the extra point, leaving the Knights with an early 6-0 lead.
The touchdown marked the end of the scoring for SHS as the Rams scored the next 29 points in a 29-6 victory.
On their first possession of the night Marshfield was stopped, electing to punt on a fourth down and 19. The Knights fumbled the punt return, giving the ball back to the Rams at midfield. Seven plays later Marshfield was in the end zone. The extra point gave the Rams a 7-6 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Knights were forced to punt on their next possession. Marshfield opened a nine-play drive, taking the ball to the Sandwich seven-yard line where Connor Dintino sacked the Ram QB for a loss, setting up a fourth and two. Marshfield elected to go for it on fourth down but ran into Dintino again falling short.
Again the Knights failed to advance the ball and were forced to punt. Marshfield threatened in the final seconds of the first half and had moved the ball to the Sandwich 22-yard line with five seconds on the clock. The Rams looked to pass but had nowhere to go, and Sandwich’s Scott McGowan ran the Marshfield QB out of bounds to end the half.
Marshfield controlled most of the second half. In the fourth quarter the Rams scored two minutes in on a 91-yard run by John Fraser. They scored again midway through the fourth on a three-yard run and capped the scoring with 1:33 left to play on a seven-yard run and two-point conversion.
It began in the heat and humidity of August, carrying through to the cold, late autumn Friday nights under the gridiron lights. Football is a long season, but since that first summer day when the players assembled for the first time, and for some maybe even earlier, they have looked forward to Thanksgiving Day and suiting up to represent their school and town in the annual holiday game. This year the Blue Knights and the Mashpee Falcons return to the holiday gridiron.
Mashpee won their T-day tilt last year, defeating Cape Cod Tech, 37-13. The Knights came up short against Bishop Feehan High School dropping a 28-0 decision. Last year the Knights lost a last-second regular season game to the Falcons by a score of 6-0.
This year the Falcons enter the holiday morning contest with a record of 8-2. Mashpee is coming off an 18-15 win over East Bridgewater.
“I think it’s awesome,” Coach Bill Luette said of having Mashpee on the holiday schedule this year. “We scrimmage them in the off season and stay in close contact. Matt (Triveri) has done a great job over there. Everybody is going to have their ups and downs; we’re having a rough year. I think people are excited that it’s Sandwich and Mashpee this year and people are going to show up. It’s a natural rivalry.
“It has been a while since we’ve won a Thanksgiving Day game. We’ve been going up against a Super Bowl team in Bishop Feehan. I think we match up well with Mashpee. Thanksgiving is about family and football.”
Sandwich and Mashpee began playing on Thanksgiving in 1997 when both programs were relatively new. That first season the Falcons took home the Cranberry Friendship Bowl Trophy after a 20-8 victory.
“This game has been on my mind since the coaches told us about it at the banquet last year,” Sandwich sophomore Captain Connor Dintino said. A Mashpee resident, Dintino played football in Mashpee up until the eighth grade.
“I played JV football with all the guys who are starters now,” he noted. “We’re getting people back from injury and if we play our game I think we’ll win. They have a good team.”
In 1998 the Falcons retained the trophy, dealing the Blue Knights a 14-10 defeat.
“To me this is the biggest game. I’ll never play football again,” senior captain Scott McGowan said. “This is like a championship game and winning it can make up for a difficult season. You never remember the beginning of the year, but you always remember the end.”
The Falcons continued to win, posting a 30-6 Thanksgiving Day victory in 1999.
“Bishop Feehan was just another game,” junior captain Kyle Hein said. “It was nothing special. Mashpee is a rivalry; you always look forward to that.”
In 2000 the Blue Knights posted their first win of the Cranberry Friendship Bowl, topping the Falcons 26-0.
‘This is going to be fun,” senior captain Kyle Mosher pointed out. “We did camp with them. We’ll be playing against kids we know.”
The Blue Knights were back in the win column in 2001 with another 26-0 holiday victory.
“Hopefully, someday this will be like Barnstable and Falmouth,” Hein said. “I think it would be great if something like that happened and I think it could.”
In 2002, the final season the neighboring towns faced each other on Thanksgiving morning, the Blue Knights won 42-20, leaving each team with three wins. Mashpee went on to play Cape Cod Tech for the next seven seasons and the Knights faced Bishop Connelly High School for three years before taking on Bishop Feehan as a Thanksgiving Day opponent.
“They are a good team but so are we,” junior captain Tony Tully said of the Falcons. “If we stick to our assignments and we trust in our teammates, we have a chance to win. We have to play with heart.
”Tully suffered a broken ankle in the season opener against Bourne. Thanksgiving morning will mark his return to the football field.
“We have pride in our team and we want to win,” Tully added. “I couldn’t help before, but now I hope to make a difference. This is a big game.”
When the Blue Knights take the field Thanksgiving morning, they’ll look to end their 2-7 season with a win, making the turkey taste even better.
“There is more of a sense of responsibility in a big game like this,” Tully noted. “We’re going to work hard; we don’t want to let anyone down. A lot has gone into getting to where we are now. I’ll be thinking about all the coaches who helped me get there, about my mom who always comes to my games and my dad who pushes me and helps me to be better. The whole team wants to win.
”Sandwich and Mashpee will renew their Thanksgiving Day rivalry at Mashpee with kickoff scheduled for 10 AM.
“We’re going to play hard, have no regrets, and leave it all on the field,” McGowan said.
“This game is up for grabs,” added Dintino. “It’s anyone’s game.”
“We’re playing for the seniors,” Hein said.
“This will be the last time I’ll ever put on pads,” Mosher added. “We’re going to give it 110 percent.”
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