Sad Ending

The seniors on the Mashpee High School football team were emotional as they listened to their coaching staff during a post-game briefing following their 14-8 loss to Cohasset in the Division 7 state semfinals.

Mashpee High School was exactly where it wanted to be. The Falcons trailed by just 6 points, with five minutes left, and were moving the football.

With a trip to Gillette Stadium to play in the state Super Bowl on the line, Head Coach Matt Triveri could not have asked for much more. When MHS had last played Cohasset, the Skippers had humbled the Falcons, delivering the team its worst loss in years, 42-6. Now the team was half a field away from scoring an upset and returning to the state championship game.

“To be in that situation, you can’t ask for much more than that,” Triveri said. “All we asked all week was to get to the fourth quarter and have it be a close game, be up or down but have it be close, and have a shot in the fourth quarter. We had a shot in the fourth quarter.”

The entire stadium at Carver High School could feel the momentum shifting in favor of the seventh-seeded Falcons. Mashpee had not allowed a point since the second quarter, and a touchdown drive earlier in the half, capped off by a Brady Johnston 15-yard touchdown run, had put the momentum clearly on the side of MHS. Johnston hit a Mahomes-to-Kelce type of shuffle pass to Kayden Eaton for the conversion that made it a six-point game late in the third quarter.

Mashpee then forced a turnover on downs by Cohasset at the Falcons’ 23 yard line to get the ball back with eight minutes to go. Aiden Cuozzo made a big tackle on fourth-and-eight, dropping a Cohasset receiver a foot short of the first down line to get the ball for Mashpee.

The Falcons that started a drive with a chance get closer to Foxboro and the title game. It started out great as Johnston converted a third-and-five play by finding Danny Mitchell for 11 and then completed a fourth-and-three pass to Makai Hue for a gain of nine that put the ball near midfield.

Mashpee was making plays and starting to believe. Then disaster struck.

Johnston tried to pull the ball back on a read-pass option play. The football hit a body and popped loose. Cohasset came out of the pile with the football with just 3:53 left on the clock.

“The last couple of minutes, we were moving it there. We were in good shape,” Coach Triveri said. “We knew that we’d have to grind away, chip away. We weren’t going to hit home runs.”

That was the last time Mashpee had the ball in the game. Cohasset was able to move the chains to get a new set of downs and run out the rest of the clock to survive and advance.

Cohasset made all of their noise in the first half. With starting quarterback Will Baker out of action with an injury, backup Liam Appleton looked like he’d be the No. 1 guy for just about every team in the state. Appleton completed 12-of-16 passes in the game, for 176-yards, and had MHS on its heels in the first half.

“They have kids like that over there. They have multi-sport kids that can do that, they grow up with a ball in their hands and that’s the type of kids that they are. I’m not surprised he can do that. The kid is just a sophomore, but he’s a great athlete,” Triveri said.

The young QB hit a five-yard TD pass early in the second quarter to put his team ahead 7-0. Later in the period he scored on a keeper from four-yards out to make it a two TD game in favor of the Skippers. Mashpee came close to scoring at the very end of the half, but a desperation from just outside the red zone was picked off in the corner as time expired on the second quarter.

Mashpee as much stronger in the second half, and took it to Cohasset at times, but came up just shy in the end.

“Am I disappointed? Yeah, tremendously disappointed, but I couldn’t be more proud. We battled,” Triveri said.

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