A chance at an undefeated season and a league championship was lost for the Mashpee High School football team on Friday, April 9, in Norwell. Mashpee’s biggest South Shore League rivals, Abington High, held off a fourth-quarter comeback attempt by the Falcons to secure the Tobin Division championship with a 25-24 win.
The Falcons had stormed back from a two-score deficit to take the lead early in the third quarter. Just before halftime, Ryan Hendricks tossed a bomb to his cousin Caesar Hendricks in the end zone for a 31-yard touchdown. Hendricks then ran in the conversion to trim the Wave’s lead to 18-16 at the intermission.
MHS started the second half with an onside kick that it recovered. Just three plays later Ryan Hendricks scored on a 32-yard designed run. He then found Jared Barr on the conversion pass to put the Falcons up 24-18 early in the period.
Abington rallied back on the next possession to reclaim the lead. Owen Reardon scampered 47 yards to the end zone for the go-ahead score for AHS and then Tommy Fanara drilled the extra point for a 25-24 lead for the Wave with 8:13 to play in the third quarter.
That extra point proved to be the difference in the game. After an offensive showcase by the two teams for the first 26 minutes of the game, the remaining 22 saw each defense come up with big plays to keep the other out of the end zone.
Mashpee’s offense marched close to grabbing the lead twice in the fourth quarter, but each time was pushed back by the home team. Mashpee got it down to the 14-yard line early in the fourth, but failed to convert as a pass by Hendricks went in and out of his receiver’s hands on fourth down to end the drive.
Mashpee’s defense got the ball back near midfield by recovering a fumble, and MHS went on another march that got it down to the red zone. A slant pass on fourth-and-six with a chance to extend the drive was thrown a tad behind the receiver and Abington took over on downs with just 3:43 left in the game. AHS was able to run out the clock from there to hold on.
Early in the game Mashpee jumped out to a quick lead, going up 8-0 just 2:40 into the contest on a nine-yard TD run by Caesar Hendricks. AHS answered with a methodical 16-play drive that saw it pull within 8-6, thanks to a beautiful deep ball by Eddie Reilly to Matt D’Ambrasio.
Abington came up with an interception on a tipped ball on Mashpee’s next offensive play, then turned that into a go-ahead touchdown. Another picked-off pass by Abington on Mashpee’s next drive was returned to the house, and the Wave led 18-8 early in the second quarter.
Mashpee fought back to grab the lead, but Abington answered and then held on. “We couldn’t finish. We got down in the red zone a couple times and we put ourselves in bad spots. We weren’t tough enough in the end,” Mashpee coach Matt Triveri said. “We controlled the end of the game, but we couldn’t finish.”
The Falcons will now play in the SSL’s third place game on Friday, April 16, at Rockland High School. Kickoff is slated for 6 PM.