Second half mistakes were the difference as the Falmouth High School football team let one slip away on September 10 in their first game of the 2021 season. FHS held a lead over Plymouth North for the first three quarters of the game, but a pair of second half turnovers allowed the Eagles to rally to score the upset in Falmouth, 18-14.
The Clippers did not face a deficit in the game until the fourth quarter. The team led 14-6 at halftime, and broke up a two-point conversion that would have tied the game after Dallas Murphy hit Matt Hilliard for a 16-yard touchdown pass on fourth-and-10 early in the third quarter.
After that scoring drive by the Eagles, Falmouth had a chance to go up by two scores again, and came close, but had a great drive die in the red zone. After a Jared Lopes kick return plus a penalty on the play put the Clippers near midfield, Falmouth marched down the field and had a first-and-goal from the six. North held on the first three plays by the Clippers and then were able to knock the ball out of Collin Govoni’s hands as he dove for the end zone on fourth-and-nine.
Plymouth North converted that turnover into the go-ahead touchdown five minutes later. Murphy found Dom Kearney on a 20-yard scoring pass that gave the visitors their first lead of the game with 10:08 remaining in the game.
Falmouth had a chance to get the lead back. The Clippers put together a fantastic drive, behind the running of fullback Cooper Young and quarterback Aiden North, that marched the team all the way into the red zone. North converted a key fourth-and-one keeper at the PN 20 yard line, moving the ball to the 18 with 4:30 to go in the game and then went for 12-yards on the next play to put the team in a first-and-goal situation from the Eagles’ seven.
Two plays later the Eagles made the play of the game, popping loose a fumble to all but sew the game up. Stephen Wallace came out of the scrum with the ball for the visiting team and that put a cap on the Clippers’ comeback hopes.
Early in the game it appeared that Falmouth would be able to handle the Eagles. Falmouth marched down the field on its first possession of the season and ended a convincing drive with a 15-yard run by Young around the left end for a 6-0 lead.
Plymouth North tied it at 6-6 in the second quarter, with 7:42 left, on a three-yard keeper by Dallas Murphy up the middle.
Two minutes later the Clippers reclaimed the lead with a little bit of trickery. A pitch to Jared Lopes saw the running back stop and put his baseball pitching arm to good use by heaving a pass up the middle of the field to an uncovered Nate Gaboury for a 53-yard touchdown play. Young ran in the two-pointer to put Falmouth on top, 14-6. They held that lead into the second half.
Coach Joe Morency said that the turnovers were the difference.
“We’re going to have to work on ball security. We played tough. I still think that we’re physical up front, but we made mistakes and we have to go back (and fix them) and we just need to keep moving on,” Morency said.
The Clippers lost interior lineman Milt Hendricks early in the game to an apparent knee injury. The loss of the active force on defense hindered both the pass rush and bottling up the run game. “It definitely hurts,” Morency said.
Hendricks is likely to miss the next few games for FHS with his knee injury. The Clippers hope to have him return to the lineup sometime midway through the season.
Next Up Norwood
FHS gets back on the gridiron on Saturday, September 18, with their first road trip of the season. The Clippers will head to Norwood High School to face the Mustangs. NHS opened its season with a 21-14 win against Stoughton last Friday.
After committing four turnovers against Plymouth North, the Clippers face a team that had four takeaways itself in their victory. Sean Steeves had three interceptions against Stoughton while Matt Alves recovered a fumble in the end zone on a key play for the the Mustangs.