Teams cannot afford to make mistakes, especially big ones, in close games, and that is what the Falmouth High School football team did on the road at Nauset on Saturday, April 17. A combination of penalties and turnovers by FHS prevented the Clippers from sweeping the season series with NHS and head into their season finale with a chance to claim the Cape and Islands Atlantic championship with a win over Barnstable this weekend.
Nauset scored a 20-14 win on a day that certainly felt like football weather, with temperatures in the mid-40s with constant rain and occasional snow.
Falmouth fell to 2-2 with the loss, with a win and defeat against both Dennis-Yarmouth and Nauset this season.
The game turned for the worse for the Clippers in the third quarter in a matter of just a couple of plays.
With the contest knotted at 7-7, FHS was called for consecutive false start penalties. The team nearly dug itself out of that hole when quarterback Doug Rose went down the middle of the field with a gorgeous ball for Sam Cavossa that he hauled in and took past midfield. That big play was erased by a holding penalty.
On third and 20, Rose again stepped back to throw a deep ball but the Warriors’ defensive line broke through and hit the quarterback for a sack, and knocked the ball loose. NHS recovered the ball at the 1 and ran it a play later to take a 14-7 lead.
FHS fought back to tie the score on the ensuing drive, thanks to some big plays from Cavossa. The senior started the drive with a 24-yard run that took the ball out to the Nauset 46 and then, on a fourth and one from the 35, he was able to take a sweep to the left for 18 more. A couple of plays later Rose scored his team’s second touchdown, faking a handoff to Cooper Young and diving in from five yards away. Gerald Mahoney’s kick knotted things up at 14-14 with 5:51 to play in the game.
Nauset responded by marching down the field in short order. The Warriors broke off some chunk yards and another costly Falmouth penalty played a role. FHS was cited for a facemask penalty that pushed the ball all the way down to the Clippers’ 35. Another bad break cost Falmouth a huge momentum-stealing moment when the Warriors appeared to fumble the ball inside the red zone, but the runner was ruled down at the FHS 11.
Eventually Riley Holmes sneaked the ball over the goal line from the 1 to put Nauset back on top, 20-14. The Clippers blocked the extra point, giving themselves hope for a comeback over the remaining 1:42, but it was not to be. Falmouth converted a couple of first downs, but a Rose pass on fourth down for Dre Cain Williams sailed high and was intercepted near midfield by NHS and the home team knelt out the final snaps to hold on for the win.
FHS was the better team in the first half of the game. The defense had dominated Nauset and did not allow the Warriors to get anything going. The Clippers took the lead into the half with a gorgeous strike from Rose to Cam Govoni on a slant to make it 7-0 at intermission. Govoni also had an interception on defense in the second half.
“I don’t know what happened. It just changed from the first half to the second half,” Falmouth coach Joe Morency said. “We only played one half of football today.”
FHS will travel to Barnstable to take on the Raiders on Friday, April 23, at 5 PM. BHS is 2-0, having missed the first half of its season due to COVID-19 concerns, and has been playing some excellent football thus far.
“I hope these guys know that Barnstable is Barnstable and you should be fired up, no matter what, to play that school. Obviously they’re the best football team that we’re going to play this year, so we’ve got to have a good week of practice and come back,” the coach said.