The Falmouth High School Clippers embarked on a 76 mile journey to Somerville’s Dilboy Stadium early Saturday morning. The trip itself would have been enough for most teams to lose focus and come out flat. The Clippers are not most teams.
Falmouth, which is averaging 35 points per game after its first two, used its triple option to score an exciting win. In a back-and-forth game, Falmouth prevailed in overtime by a 35-29 score to move to 2-0 on the season.
The Clippers and the Highlanders of Somerville High School went toe-to-toe for 48 minutes, but that was not enough to decide a winner. The game was tied at 29 after four quarters and Somerville began the overtime period with the ball. The Highlanders scored what they thought was the go-ahead score, but the touchdown was negated by a penalty. After a second Somerville penalty, there was a newfound confidence on the Falmouth sideline and also among the surprisingly large Falmouth contingent who made the trek from the Cape to the Boston suburb. The Highlanders ultimately ended up facing a fourth and goal from the 15. Senior quarterback, Louis Jacques Montina (121 passing yards, 66 rushing yards) dropped back to pass and heaved the ball into the end zone.
The ball hung in the air for what felt like an eternity. Junior defensive back Sam Cavossa batted the ball away, to end the Highlanders possession and give FHS a chance to end it as they took the ball over.
Falmouth senior quarterback Kyle Connolly a three-year starter, punched in the winning score from inside the one yard line as rain began to pelt the aluminum bleachers. Connolly had an enormous game for the Clippers, particularly in the second half.
After being held in check in the first half, Connolly continually ripped through the Highlander defense for large chunks of yardage in the final two quarters and overtime. Connolly finished the game with 117 yards and three touchdowns, with 97 of those yards and two touchdowns in the second half.
In the early stages of the game, it was clear the Falmouth offensive line would be able to get a big push against the Somerville defensive front. On the first play of the second possession for Falmouth, Cam Rowell exploded through the middle for a gain of 17. That drive ultimately stalled, but it was a sign of things to come.
The first quarter ended in a scoreless tie. Somerville senior tailback, Thierry Seide, was nearly impossible for one defender to take down. Seide kept his legs churning on every run and fell forward for extra yards. He capped the drive off with an eight-yard touchdown run up the middle of the field to give the Highlanders a 7-0 lead with 4:16 left in the first half.
Falmouth responded quickly. It took only six plays for the Clippers to cover 58 yards and even the game at 7-7 before halftime. Connolly scored the first touchdown of the day for Falmouth from three yards out. Rowell and Cavossa each had runs of over 15 yards to put the Clippers in striking distance.
Somerville struck first in the second half. Montina scored from five yards away after being set up by a 30 yard run on a jet sweep by Miyard Joseph. Falmouth once again quickly responded. Connolly found the end zone for the second time. The point after touchdown kick ricocheted off the left upright and the game remained tied heading into the fourth quarter.
Early in the fourth quarter, Falmouth captain David Drew forced a fumble which was recovered by Taylor Frye. On the first play after the fumble, Rowell jolted through the middle of the Highlander defense for a 24-yard Clipper touchdown.
Somerville responded almost immediately. Montina connected with Fred Castin who took off down the right sideline to send the home fans into a frenzy.
As the game went back-and-forth, Falmouth once again took the lead. Connolly ripped through the teeth of the Somerville defense for a gain of 56 yards to set the Clippers up in the red zone. The drive was capped off by Rowell, who scored from 10 yards out.
SHS would not go away, though, and rallied to get the game squared up. Facing a fourth-and-nine, Montina rolled right and evaded several Falmouth defenders for a gain of 11. Miyard Joseph then took a jet sweep around the right side for a Somerville touchdown. The conversion was successful and the game was tied at 29.
Somerville nearly won the game on a safety in the final three minutes but Cam Govoni was able to escape the end zone.
Rowell finished with 146 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries. David Drew added 57 yards on the ground for Falmouth. Bryant Bowman had an excellent two-way game on the lines for the Clippers. Julian Hendricks intercepted Montina in the second quarter.
Falmouth begins the year 2-0 for the fifth consecutive year. The Clippers next game is Friday, September 20, at 7 PM at home against Wayland High School. The Warriors are considered a contender in Division 4 North.
“They are definitely the best team that we have played yet this year,” Coach Derek Almeida said. “We will have to get better in all three phases in order to compete with them for 48 minutes.”