The defense of the Upper Cape Tech football team had its best all-around performance of the season as the Rams re-gained possession of the coveted Golden Wrench for the first time under third-year head coach Ken Owen.

Visiting Cape Tech in Harwich on Thursday, November 28, the Rams got an interception return for a touchdown from senior Andrew Brightman, and stand-out play from all three levels, en route to a shutout victory, 30-0, on Thanksgiving Day.

“The turkey dinners always tastes a little better after a win,” Owen, the long-time high school coach said after the game. “We played really well today. Just one of those days where everything we planned to happen in practice fell into place.”

The win lifted UCT (6-5) above the .500 mark on the season — the first time the Owen-led Rams have had a winning season at the end of the year, despite reaching the Division 8 South semifinals as a two-seed last year.

With a pestering rain, and a strong wind present throughout much of the game, the Rams opted to play the field position game early on and took the wind at their backs to start the game. The plan worked to perfection as it felt as if the stout UCT defense was playing with 12 men, with the harsh wind working as an extra defender.

“We played the wind and forced them to fight against the wall,” Owen said. “Drew had a few pass break-ups from the safety spot. Richard Hagopian had a great, great game on the defensive line.”

Offensively Brightman got things started when he connected to his younger brother, Jon, for a seven-yard strike that was followed by a Juzary Salim two-point conversion run. Salim then added another two-point run, following Brightman’s interception return for a touchdown. Both of those scores occurred in the second quarter following a scoreless first quarter of play.

Up 16-0 coming out of the break at halftime, UCT extended its lead against the Crusaders midway through the third quarter. Senior co-captain Kemrin Glover ripped off a 45-yard touchdown run to the outside for the big-play strike.

“He cut back and ended up on the other side of the field towards the backside of the play,” Owen said. “Once he gets going, he’s tough to catch. It goes down as a 45-yard run, but he probably ran 100 yards in total. It was a nice run.”

The game’s scoring was capped in the fourth quarter by senior co-captain Colin Souza — an offensive lineman-turned-fullback for the Rams. He got the call to tote the ball in a goal-line situation and he converted the one-yard rush for a score.

“He’s been at fullback for a few weeks now and he’s been a great captain for us all year,” Owen said of Souza. “Sometimes you do these things on Thanksgiving and, sometimes, they work out. This one did and it was a good one to see.”

Joey Coelho’s two-point rush finished off the scoring drive and ensured the UCT sideline it was safe to begin their Thanksgiving Day celebration.

In the win, the Rams secured the season sweep of their rival, after claiming a 30-0 win in October in Bourne which lifted UCT to the postseason. The win also avenged a 31-0 loss to Coyle-Cassidy two weeks ago at home.

“We had to bounce back a bit and the kids responded,” Owen said.

The Rams improved to 6-3 against Cape Tech in the annual Golden Wrench Game on Thanksgiving Day.

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