The Blue Knights (3-7) found themselves in a quick 12-0 hole Friday night, but exploded for 14 points in the second quarter on the way to a 32-20 victory over visiting Whitman-Hanson (0-9-1).
The Panthers scored on their first play from scrimmage and then put a second on in the endzone with 4:57 to play in the opening quarter. Before time expired in the quarter the Knights were able to answer on a one-yard run up the middle by Matt Mullin. TJ Cairns ran in the two-point conversion. The Panthers missed both of their two-point conversion attempts, leaving Whitman-Hanson on top 12-8 after the opening quarter.
“That was the first touchdown of the season for Matt,” Coach Bill Luette said. “He’s been injured and hasn’t had much of a chance to play. I’m glad he got into the endzone. He is a great kid, who works hard, and has been a motivator all year.”
A fumble recovery with 5:50 to play in the half by Sandwich’s Frank Kelleher set the Knights up at midfield. With 2:36 remaining quarterback Adam Billard ran the ball in from nine yards out, but the point-after kick sailed wide. The Panthers were forced to punt on their next possession. Dan Perry blocked the punt and Matt Petersen recovered the ball on the Panther one-yard line. With 1:34 left in the half, Kenny Grady ran the ball in for a third SHS touchdown. The PAT attempt was blocked leaving the Knights with a 20-12 lead at halftime.
“Kenny Grady plays very hard,” Coach Luette noted. “I enjoy watching him play.”
Sandwich got the ball to open the second half, but an interception gave it to the Panthers. The Blue Knights stopped W-H, forcing a punt. At the end of a five-minute drive, the Knights were back in the endzone with 3:21 left in the third quarter as Billard hit Johnny Stanton on a 40-yard pass play down the right side for a touchdown. The PAT again missed wide leaving the Knights with a 26-12 lead. It took the Panthers just two minutes to execute an eight-play drive culminating in a 35-yard scoring romp by Richard Schneider. The two-point conversion was good, cutting the Sandwich lead to 26-20.
After once again stopping W-H and taking the ball back on downs at their own 15-yard line, the Knights went on an 11-play drive that stalled short of the goal. But the Panthers didn’t have long to enjoy their defensive success as a fumble put the ball back in the hands of Sandwich.
With 2:32 left to play from the Whitman-Hanson 23-yard line, Billard tossed the ball to to his right to Jake Kangas, who threw a pass to Stanton for a Blue Knight touchdown. The two-point conversion attempt failed leaving the Knights with a 32-20 lead.
“Johnny is a play-maker,” Coach Luette said. “He has huge hands and makes big catches. He has been one of the keys to our offense. We’ve had that play with Jake throwing the pass for a while, we’ve just never had the opportunity to use it. This time when Jake came to the sideline I said, it’s time, let’s do it. The ball was in the perfect spot and Jake and Johnny made it happen.”
Taking over at midfield the Panthers went to the air, but the SHS secondary led by Petersen did a nice job of knocking the ball down. With 1:37 left the Panthers turned the ball over on downs, giving the Knights their third win of the season.
The Blue Knights will host Mashpee Thanksgiving Day at 10 AM at the Pop Warner Field.
The Falcons (4-6) are coming off a 17-14 loss to Nantucket last week. Both Mashpee touchdowns came in the first half. Senior Kevin Frye scored on an eight-yard run in the opening quarter and also ran in the two-point conversion. Frye was back in the end zone in the second quarter running it in from 11 yards out. The Falcons held a 14-0 lead at halftime, but a last-second field goal by the Whalers spelled the difference.
Frye ran for 84 yards in the losing effort and Jake Martini and Ethan West did a nice job on the defensive line.
A season that began with high hopes and loads of talent has become more of a survival effort for Mashpee. The Falcons have been dealt blow after blow in terms of injuries over the course of the season and are now making do with a roster full of underclassmen that are being pressed into full-time service earlier than Head Coach Matt Triveri ever hoped that they would have to.
Mashpee is hoping to have running back Robert Andrade back for this game. Andrade is one of the most dynamic offensive players on Cape Cod. Before suffering a sprained knee against Cohasset, he put up a seven-touchdown game against Monomoy. In that game he returned three kickoffs for TDs, ran for two touchdowns, caught a touchdown and threw one as well. He also had an interception on defense.
Nick Carpenter has made much progress over the course of the season at quarterback. The freshman signal caller has shown nice pocket presence and can throw the deep ball. With the injuries, though, he hasn’t had any of his prime targets to throw to, other than Martini, a tight end.
“They have beaten us the past three years,” Coach Luette added. “Our kids want to redeem themselves. We scrimmaged them early in the year and did well against them. They’ll run a lot of different formations with a lot of motion. We have to play physical football. They have some big kids and we have to make our tackles. We want to end the season on a winning note.”