A drive to win the game in the final minutes of regulation came up just short as time expired for the Falmouth High School football team on Opening Day at FHS on Saturday, leading to a heartbreaking loss in overtime for the Clippers.
FHS led by as many as 14 points in the third quarter, but Dennis-Yarmouth rallied back to score twice before the end of regulation to tie the score and blocked a would-be go-ahead field goal by the Clippers as time expired. The Dolphins then scored on the first play of OT, and stopped FHS on fourth-and-goal from the 2 on the last play of OT to rally for a 34-28 win.
“Offensively, up front we did well, we controlled the line, we did what we wanted to do,” FHS coach Joe Morency said. “Just at the end of the game, we got down, the field goal didn’t happen. Overtime, we were there, we stopped them going for two, but unfortunately in the end a few guys broke down on their assignments and weren’t where they were supposed to be.”
Dennis-Yarmouth quarterback Henry Machnick had a breakout performance against the Clippers. The lefthander threw four touchdowns and ran for the game-winning score in overtime, scrambling in from the 10 on the first play of OT to put his team on top. FHS stuffed the two-point conversion that followed, giving itself a chance to tie the game, or win it, when it got the ball back.
In overtime Falmouth got down to the 2-yard line on third down on a run by Sam Cavossa. That set up an all-or-nothing fourth-and-goal play for the Clippers that did not go as planned. Quarterback Doug Rose, who ran for two touchdowns, tried to bootleg the ball to the left side, but slipped and fell short of the goal, giving D-Y the victory.
“They fire off of the ball, they do a good job on offense. We just had to meet their toughness with more toughness of our own, and those guys up front just got it done,” D-Y head coach Chris Marsh said.
For Rose, making his first-ever varsity start, the game went extremely well until the end. The quarterback completed a number of big passes, including a 39-yarder in the third to Gerald Mahoney that set up a two-yard run on his own, and a big third down dart to Taylor Frye late in the fourth that set up the potential tying kick that went wide.
“Doug played very well. He’s tough, he played his butt off, he commanded the offense well. Just in the end, it obviously didn’t work out the way we wanted it to,” Morency said.
Falmouth looked to be in good shape in the second half, taking two-touchdown leads on two occasions. After leading 7-6 at the half, Falmouth went up 14-6 on a 70-yard run by Rose early in the third, and just two minutes later made it 21-6 when Julian Hendricks picked off a Machnick pass and returned it 45 yards to the house for a pick-six TD.
From that point on, though, Machnick started to find his groove and began to hit big pass after big pass. His primary receiver was junior Ryan Fitzgerald, who hauled in a 25-yard dime midway through the third as D-Y pulled to within 21-14.
Falmouth got that one back on a Rose two-yard run with 1:45 to play in the third. That was the last time time that FHS scored.
D-Y rallied to get two touchdowns to tie. With just under a minute left in the third Machnick exploited a busted coverage by Falmouth and hit a 37-yarder to Fitzgerald for six, and added the conversion to the same receiver to make it 28-22. With 5:31 left in the game the sophomore for D-Y went up top and hit a streaking Jaden Moore for a 26-yard TD that tied it. The PAT to take the lead missed the mark.
“We knew they were going to complete the ball against us. We obviously knew that they were going to complete some of those inside hitches,” Morency said. “We were letting them grind it out and hoping we were going to stop them in the long run, putting ourselves in some good position, but unfortunately they just made some deep balls on us that we weren’t there for. Every series we had them stopped at one point in time, it seemed, but they just kind of got us in the end.”
Falmouth had a chance to win it at the end of regulation. The team orchestrated a great final drive that marched the ball the length of the field down to the D-Y 5. Mahoney lined up for a potential game-winning 22-yard kick. On the play Jaden Moore flew in from the kicker’s left and was able to get a piece of the ball as it left his foot, blocking the bid and sending the game into OT.
The Clippers are back in action on Saturday, March 27, against Nauset at home.